CME first quarter earnings up 51%

By FNE Staff

    Central European Media Enterprises showed stunning first quarter growth, with first quarter earnings at €143.6 million ($223.5 million).

    CEO Michael Garin predicted CME (www.cetv-net.com) is "on route to achieve another record-setting year, with expected revenues of $1.1 billion" (€707 million). EBITDA grew 86% compared with first quarter 2007, to €47.8 million. Operating income achieved a remarkable 236% rise, to €28.7 million.

    Growth was solid across the board, at each of the six countries where CME operates, driven by advertising incentives that shifted more advertising revenues into the first quarter. Chief Financial Officer Wallace Macmillan told investors, "Normal phasing of revenues is slightly distorted this year." Also attributing to strong year-on-year results was the weak dollar, which accounted for 20% of the increase in earnings.

    CME's budding New Media business, dominated by Slovenia with 70% of the CME share, grew 231%, with 1.2 million hits daily. Adrian Sarbu, Chief Operating Officer of CME added, "Once we complete the buyout of our partners in Studio 1+1, we will be in a strong position to capitalize on the rapid growth in our largest market," the Ukraine. CME expects to complete buyout of its minority partner in the Ukraine by the end of the second quarter.

    CME operates in six Central and Eastern European countries with an aggregate population of approximately 90 million people. The company's television stations are located in Croatia (Nova TV), Czech Republic (TV Nova, Nova Cinema, Galaxie Sport), Romania (PRO TV, PRO TV International, Acasa, PRO Cinema, Sport.ro and MTV Romania), Slovakia (TV Markíza, Galaxie Sport), Slovenia (POP TV, Kanal A) and Ukraine (Studio 1+1, Studio 1+1 International, Kino, Citi). CME is traded on the NASDAQ and the Prague Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "CETV".