Highlight profits rise 19%

Revenue falls 7.6%

BERLIN – Swiss media group Highlight Communications, which is currently merging with Leo Kirch’s Munich-based licensing company EM.Sport, reported an increase in provisional results Thursday, with a 19% jump in net profit despite a 7.6% drop in revenue.

While profit reached CHF 30.7 million ($30.3 million), surpassing the company’s initial forecast, sales of $475 million were below target figures as a result of new accounting and valuation methods employed by Highlight as well as its main subsidiary, Munich entertainment group Constantin Film.

Highlight saw record revenues of $514 million in 2006, thanks in large part to the boffo performance of Constantin’s box office hit “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.”

EM.Sport earlier this week picked up an additional 11.3% in Highlight from Kirch in a stock and cash deal, leaving it with a 37.6% stake and Kirch with 17.1% in EM.Sport.

In addition to Constantin, Highlight also owns sports licensing group Team. The merger with EM.Sport will result in a major sports rights, production, broadcasting and entertainment group, owned by Kirch.

Highlight also named Peter von Bueren the company’s new chief financial officer, replacing Antonio Arrigoni, who is now head of finance at EM.Sport. Highlight chairman and CEO Bernhard Burgener will also take the helm at EM.Sport, replacing Werner Klatten as chief exec in September while continuing to oversee Highlight.

Company will release its comprehensive 2007 financial results on April 29.

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