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Bertelsmann profit soaring

Strong performance expected to continue

This article was corrected on November 10, 2004.

BERLIN — German media giant Bertelsmann’s bottom line improved dramatically in the first nine months of the year as net profits more than quadrupled to e521 million ($672 million). Revenue at the privately held group rose 1.9% to $15.5 billion.

“Business has been very gratifying,” Bertelsmann finance chief Siegfried Luther said. He expressed confidence that the strong performance would continue in the fourth quarter, adding that he expected “an improved operating result and slight revenue growth for the year 2004 despite a restrained economy.”

Group profits benefited from a strong performance by Pan-Euro broadcaster RTL and a turnaround at music group BMG in the first half of the year. BMG’s most successful artists include Alicia Keys, Dido, Maroon 5 and Usher.

Business at the Guetersloh-based company remained strong through the third quarter. Earnings before interest and tax rose 14% to $279 million on revenue of $4.9 billion — relatively unchanged from the previous year. Bertelsmann’s divisions also include New York-based Random House, the world’s largest general interest publisher, magazine group Gruner + Jahr and a number of book and music clubs.

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