Prisa sees ad upturn

First-half revenues up 11.3% to $887.1 million

MADRID — Confirming Spain’s emergence from a 2001-02 advertising downturn, the Prisa Group, Spain’s second largest media company, posted healthy first-half results thanks to a strong performance from its special promotions.

The encouraging results come as Prisa is in advanced talks to increase its already significant radio presence in Latin America.

First-half revenues increased 11.3% to E723 million ($887.1 million). Ad income saw a consolidated rise of 9.1%, led by hikes at startup TV network Localia (up 67.3%), newspaper El Pais (8.5%) and Radio de Espana (4%).

Operating cash flow for the first six months stood at $123.9 million, up 56% vs. the same period in 2003. Net profits reached $55.2 million, a 34% improvement vs. the year-earlier period.

Special promotions bundled with newspapers raised a total $101.8 million.

Earlier last week, Sogecable, in which Prisa holds a 20% stake, announced net losses of $100.6 million, in line with analysts’ expectations.

With money to spend, Prisa is in advanced talks to take over Spanish telco Telefonica’s radio net in Argentina, Radio Continental. Prisa’s brace of Latin American radio interests include Radiopolis in Mexico, Grupo Latino de Radio in Colombia and Bolivia’s Grupo Multimedia.

Deal could require a change in Argentinian legislation, but the government is said to look kindly on the agreement.

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