Pre-tax profit up $5.2 million in 2010

BERLIN — German entertainment giant Constantin Medien saw a better than expected performance in 2010.

The company, the parent of leading indie producer-distrib Constantin Film, posted a net loss of Euros11.4 million ($16.1 million) — better than the anticipated loss of more than $18 million. Sales, which had been expected to drop up to 12%, declined just 8% to $664.5 million.

The group attributed the decreasing revenue to a weaker sales performance delivered by the sports and film segments.

While the company posted a net profit of $12.3 million in 2009, that result was significantly boosted by one-off proceeds stemming from a legal settlement.

Earnings before taxes this year reached $4.8 million compared with a pre-tax loss of some $420,000 in 2009.

The group’s sports and event marketing segment saw sales increase by 18.1% to $103 million due primarily to higher revenues from the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, which are marketed by the group’s TEAM subsidiary. Segment earnings rose $7 million to $10.2 million.

The film segment delivered a weaker business performance in 2010 compared with the previous year, but in line with expectations due to a lower production volume in TV service productions — a reflection of cost-cutting measures among TV broadcasters.

Revenues from theatrical distribution and license trading were also lower. Overall, film segment sales fell 14.2% to $340.8 million.

The conglom’s sports segment, which includes free TV web SPORT1 as well as online and mobile sports activities, saw losses narrow by $20.5 million to just more than $420,000, despite fierce competition in the TV ad market. Constantin last year restructured its sports segment, investing largely in new rights and live broadcasting, and also launched the new pay TV channel SPORT1 Plus.

Looking forward, Constantin chairman Bernhard Burgener said he was confident that this year the group would “take another step forward in reaching our long-term target of generating stable positive earnings.”

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