Fininvest operating profits slide

Berlusconi's firm reports decline in first half operating profits

ROME — Silvio Berlusconi’s family holding company, Fininvest, which controls the tycoon’s film production, television and book publishing empire, reported a near 10% decline in first half operating profits.

The slide was attributed to a one-time gain of €1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) realized in 2005 from the sale of a 16.68% stake in Mediaset, company said in a statement issued last night – Oct. 26.

It’s been a difficult year from Italy’s richest man. The former prime minister lost the general election in April and the share performance of Mediaset continues to dive as an advertising and ratings slump wrecks havoc on the firm’s bottom line.

Fininvest, however, signaled it will continue to be an aggressive player in the European media sector.

Investments during the period rose 57% year-on-year to $1.27 billion as a lot of coin was ploughed into digital terrestrial TV.

Fininvest maintains a 35% stake in Mediaset, a 50% stake in publisher Mondadori plus ownership of Medusa Films and soccer outfit A.C. Milan.

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