Bertelsmann Reports Net Profit

Bertelsmann Reports Net Profit
(source from yahoo.com)

BERLIN (AP) - Bertelsmann reported a net profit for its truncated 2001 fiscal year that was buoyed by the sale of its stake in AOL Europe. The media company also forecast Tuesday that earnings for 2002 would exceed the previous full year's level.

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In the six-month period to Dec. 31, the company posted net profit of 931 million euros ($818 million), helped by $1.93 billion in proceeds from the sale of AOL Europe shares and other holdings. The selloff is part of Bertelsmann's strategy of focusing on becoming a media content provider.

Bertelsmann reported a net profit of 968 million euros for the previous full fiscal year, which ended last June, and said Tuesday it expects to exceed that amount this year. The privately held media company didn't provide comparison figures for the six-month earnings.

Bertelsmann is switching to a calendar year in preparation for a possible stock offering, although no date has been set for that. The 2001 earnings were the first reported according to international accounting standards rather than German standards.

"Proceeds from the sales of AOL shares contributed greatly to the high profits, but operational competitiveness was also increased, thanks to cost and portfolio management and a focus on creative core tasks," the company said in a statement.

Revenues were 9.7 billion euros ($8.52 billion) in the six months and earnings before interest, tax and amortization came to 1.7 billion euros ($1.49 billion).

Bertelsmann's divisional earnings X which exclude one-time gains and the company's Internet business and are reported before interest, taxes and amortization X were 212 million euros ($186 million).

Bertelsmann's divisions include media company RTL, publisher Random House, magazine group Gruner + Jahr, a scientific publishing arm, and music group BMG, whose top names include Whitney Houston, the Backstreet Boys  and Britney Spears

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