Bonnier Group losses double to $77 mil

Entertainment arm reports 23% sales hike

AMSTERDAM — Bonnier Entertainment, the production, distribution, exhibition and TV arm of the Swedish media conglomerate Bonnier, reported a 23% increase in net sales in 2002 to $406 million, making it the strongest growth division in the privately owned group.

The Bonnier group as a whole, however, took it on the chin, nearly doubling its losses from a year earlier but reporting a weak 4% increase in net sales. Net sales for the family-owned Swedish conglom climbed to SKr17.5 billion ($2.1 billion), up from $2 billion a year earlier, but after tax losses climbed from $43.5 million in 2001 to $76.6 million in 2002.

Scandinavia’s oldest and most respected film and theatrical brands Svensk Filmindustri (SF) and SF Bio were credited with much of the rise in sales at Bonnier Entertainment, mainly due to the success of “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.”

In 2001, the first edition of “Lord” was responsible for boosting Bonnier Ent.’s sales by 20%, while its parent company’s overall sales remained relatively flat.

Bonnier is a vertically integrated media company with interests in film, TV, exhibition, print, radio, music distribution and new media. In addition to SF and SF Bio, the company also owns a string of TV interests, including the largest stake in TV4 Sweden and is the largest shareholder in Finland’s Alma Media, owner of Finnish commercial web MTV3.