CEO: 'Markets are not recovering'

PRAGUE

Central European Media Enterprises, in which Time Warner has a 49.9% stake, saw a 15.3% drop in net revenues to $140 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30, it reported Wednesday.

Net loss at the network, which runs 33 channels in six Central and Eastern European countries, narrowed from $82.2 million in the same quarter last year to $32.6 million.

Prague-based CEO Adrian Sarbu blamed sluggish spending in the region, and ad buys were short compared with forecasts for the last half of 2012. Saying, “our markets are not recovering,” Sarbu predicted little change in the coming year, adding, “We were successful in addressing our capital structure and debt maturities, but we were unable to achieve our sales and free cash-flow targets.”

In the summer, following a drop in the ad market of 7%, CME predicted the fall would lessen, but belt-tightening has instead worsened in the region. Some relief arrived in July, when CME tried cutting its debts in a deal with Time Warner, who boosted their share of stock to 49.9%. But stock prices dropped prior to the deal and have remained down since.

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