SBS shows Q1 improvement

Co. sees 168% rise to $2.9 million

AMSTERDAM — Pan-European company SBS Broadcasting slashed its first-quarter net losses from 20 million euros ($22.3 million) in 2002 to $9.8 million. Results revealed Monday also showed an 8% hike in revenues to $129.8 million.

Station operating cash flow jumped into the black, showing a 168% rise to $2.9 million, up from a first-quarter loss in 2002 of $4.3 million.

Earnings before taxes, depreciation and amortization also rose, from a loss of $11 million to a gain of $2.5 million.

SBS CEO Markus Tellenbach said the revenue growth “outpaced the majority” of its markets. SBS’s 11 stations stretch across Scandinavia, Benelux and Eastern Europe.

The Dutch operations usually are the strongest performers, but for this quarter, Kanal 5 in Sweden and SBS’s Hungarian TV operations posted revenue increases of 32% and 24%, respectively.

SBS’s three channels in Holland account for more than a third of the broadcaster’s revenues, but this quarter, due to a weak ad market, SBS6, V8 and Net 5 collectively posted a limp 5% rise in revs to $44.5 million.

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