Media giant sees 9% profit increase in first half

Revenues at German media giant Bertelsmann climbed 1.9% to €7.2 billion ($10.4 billion) in the first half of the year while profit jumped 9.3% to $387.5 million.

Strong business at the conglom’s advertising sales-driven divisions, namely pan-European broadcaster RTL Group and magazine publisher Gruner and Jahr, as well as its outsourcing service provider Arvato and book publisher Random House, fueled revenue and earnings growth.

RTL benefited from good business in its core markets of Germany, France and the Netherlands, while Gruner and Jahr generated higher advertising and circulation revenues. At Random House, the company said U.S. business and digital operations performed especially well.

“We are very satisfied with developments in the first half,” said Bertelsmann CEO Hartmut Ostrowski. “We improved our revenues and group profit, as well as our central performance indicator, the BVA, a benchmark of value creation.”

The BVA, or Bertelsmann Value Added, measures the company’s profit realized above and beyond the cost of capital and is the group’s key performance indicator for assessing the profitability of businesses and the return on invested capital. BVA reached $127 million in the first half of the year compared with $118 million a year ago.In addition, return on sales amounted to 10.3% compared with 10.7% in the first half of 2010.

“For only the second time ever, return on sales reached double-digit figures in a half-year reporting period,” Ostrowski added. “This gives us the necessary impetus to resolutely move forward with our growth strategy. We have already made good progress in the past few months.”

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