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BERLIN — Despite the weak economy, Swiss-German distributor and license trader Highlight Communications on Tuesday posted a 15% increase in net profits to 9 million Swiss francs ($6.3 million) and a revenue hike of more than 10% to $61.5 million.

Company said the booming DVD market and successful sports rights sales were its key strengths. It described the German movie business as “fairly muted,” but scored a modest hit with “The Hours,” which remained in the top 10 at the German box office between March and May.

Its Team sports rights division continued sales of TV rights to UEFA Champions League soccer for 2003-2006, including deals in major markets such as Germany, Spain and Italy.

Team has also moved beyond sports after inking a deal with the European Broadcasting Union for marketing the hugely popular annual European Song Contest for 2004.

Loss not worrisome

Highlight, which acquired a majority stake in leading German producer-distrib Constantin Film earlier this year, played down Constantin’s expected annual loss, saying it would be offset by the price Highlight paid for the majority share, which was less than Constantin’s equity capital. Constantin is expected to be back in the black in 2004.

Company has a 58% stake in Constantin but is expected to lower that figure to 50.1% or less following an agreement in June with Constantin founder and fellow shareholder Bernd Eichinger.

‘Reinforced its position’

The stake in Constantin and its successful sale of UEFA rights “reinforced its position as the leading player in the German-language film production and license trading market as well as one of the world’s top marketing agencies,” Highlight said.

Company’s performance is in line with forecasts, despite the continuing economic woes depressing the industry.

Highlight shares, which are traded on Germany’s SDAX, dropped nearly 3% to $2.97 Tuesday.