Revenues and profit down sharply at CME

CME revenues at were down 38% in the first half of 2009, taking the total to US$327.4m (US$231m). A first-half 2008 operating profit of US$144.2m swung to an operating loss of US$72.8m in the same period this year as newly appointed CEO Adrian Sarbu said that advertising markets were now at 2007 levels.

“This has been a painful process for us and our shareholders,” Sarbu said. “The strength of our brands and businesses has been demonstrated throughout this crisis by our improved audience share and market share in all our core operations. We are now looking forward to recovery.”

By country, the Czech Republic remains CME’s biggest earner, generating revenues of US$127.6m in the first half of 2008 compared with US$198.1m in the same period a year earlier. Romania is second and generated revenues of US$84m compared with US$137.8m in the first half of 2008. EBIDTA profit was also down sharply in these and all other territories in which CME operates with the exception of Bulgaria, which reversed a small loss to turn a first half profit of US$2.2m.

Separately, CME has acquired control of central and eastern Europe producer and distributor MediaPro, which was founded by Adrian Sarbu. The broadcaster has paid US$10m and 2.2 million CME shares, valued at around US$50m, for the company. It previously owned around 10% of MediaPro, which produces around 500 hours of TV programming per year and was founded by Sarbu over 20 years ago.