Bloomberg News

Modern Times Profit Gains on Sales, Eastern Europe

October 21, 2008

Modern Times Group AB (MTGA), Sweden's largest private broadcaster, said third-quarter profit rose 36 percent as sales advanced and the company branched out into eastern Europe and Russia.

Net income climbed to 400 million kronor ($53 million) from 294 million kronor a year earlier, the Stockholm-based company said in a statement today. Sales rose 13 percent to 2.96 billion kronor. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg anticipated net income of 365 million kronor on sales of 2.92 billion kronor.

Modern Times gained 5.3 percent in Stockholm trading. Chief Executive Officer Hans-Holger Albrecht said the fallout from the global economic crisis on the company has been limited and that Modern Times is well financed. Modern Times will seek to take market share and may find purchase opportunities should rivals need to offload assets, he said in an interview.

``Even if the market would slow down, things are not for eternity,'' Albrecht said. ``The fundamental trend in eastern Europe is still intact.''

Modern Times rose 10 kronor to 200 kronor in the Swedish capital. The stock has lost 45 percent of its value in a year.

Albrecht on July 31 announced the purchase of Bulgaria's Nova Televizia for 620 million euros ($819 million), the company's biggest purchase to date. The acquisition will complement Modern Times' Diema television channels, giving it greater access to the growing Bulgarian TV advertising market. Modern Times said today it secured a 3 billion-krona loan to finance the deal, and that it won't require more funds anytime soon.

To contact the reporter responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel in Stockholm at bkammel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Klemming at lklemming@bloomberg.net


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