RTL Group (RTL.L)

03 September 2002, Luxembourg

RTL Group, Europe’s leading broadcaster and content provider,  reports headline figures for the half year to 30 June 2002.

RTL Group will present a full interim results announcement, including segmental information, on Monday 9 September, the same day as French TV channel M6 – in which RTL Group holds a stake – reports its results. 


EUR million

 Half Year
To 30 June 2002

 Half Year
To 30 June 2001






 Reported EBITA1







    Start up losses2



 Adjusted EBITA




 Adjusted EBITA margin (%)



 Reported EBITA margin (%)



 Amortisation and impairment of



 Gain on sale of subsidiaries, joint
 ventures and other investments



 Net financial expense



 Income tax expense4



 Reported net result




Business Headlines

Continued difficult advertising market conditions

  • German market down by 7.2 per cent in gross advertising spend
  • RTL Group’s revenue up 5.1 per cent, due to scope changes and an increase in non-advertising revenue  
  • Underlying revenue down 2 per cent5  
  • Underlying cost base flat 
  • Improved diversification of revenue with non-advertising revenue contributing 38.8 per cent of total revenue (up 20.5 per cent compared to first half 2001)
  • Strong cash generation and continued healthy financial position 

Focus remains on audiences, ratings and cost efficiency

  • Significant progress by Channel 5 in the UK with audience share up to 6.4 per cent from 5.6 per cent in the first half 2001 and advertising market share up to 7.3 per cent from 6.1 per cent as at 30 June 2001
  • Format successes, with “Pop Idol” – produced by FremantleMedia – rolled-out in the UK on ITV, in the US on Fox and, in autumn, in Germany on RTL Television
  • RTL Radio in France increases market leadership over rivals
  • Streamlined operational management structure implemented
  • Increased focus on exploitation of synergies as well as on value building and organic growth

Didier Bellens, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RTL Group:

“Our proven long-term strategy of focusing on free-to-air television and radio plus content has continued to be successful and has helped us to weather the difficult current market conditions. We will continue to leverage the enormous potential of our channels and programme brands to increase audience shares in our main markets.

At the same time, our ongoing campaign to control costs and build synergies is helping us to operate in a lean and efficient manner. We have streamlined our operational management structure to help facilitate this and we have named a senior creative executive to further help to identify and progress opportunities for synergy.

Our achievements in tightening cost structures will also prove to be extremely beneficial when the rebound of the markets eventually comes. However, the state of the market has not changed since we issued our trading update in July. Visibility is still extremely low, and while there are some small positive signs in the UK and the Netherlands, the weak German market and a flat French market do not encourage us to call any sort of recovery at this stage.

It should be noted that the first half of 2002 is compared to a relatively strong first half of 2001. Whilst the second half of 2001 saw a dramatic downturn, we are not foreseeing a similar picture for 2002.”

Listing on London Stock Exchange

Following a review of the stock exchange listings of RTL Group, the Board of Directors has decided that RTL Group will apply to the UK Listing Authority (UKLA) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to cancel the admission of its shares to UKLA’s Official List and to trading on the LSE. This decision has been taken in view of the continued low trading volumes in RTL Group shares on the LSE. The intended delisting in London does not affect the existing listings at the Luxembourg and Brussels stock exchanges.

A circular providing further details regarding the delisting will be distributed to RTL Group shareholders in due course. It is currently expected that the delisting in London would become effective in November 2002. 
A conference call will be held for analysts and investors today at 9.30 AM London time. To participate in the conference call dial +44 (0) 20 8240-8242 quoting RTL and chairperson Didier Bellens. The call will be available on replay until 16 September by dialling +44 (0) 20 8288-4459, passcode 735562.

EBITA represents earnings before interest and taxes excluding amortisation and impairment of goodwill and gain from sale of subsidiaries, joint ventures and other investments.  RTL Group’s EBITA reported by Bertelsmann is EUR 173 million due to a different presentation of financial results other than interest and allocated, non re-charged, Bertelsmann overhead.
RTL Shop and Broadband (2001 only)
Impairment of goodwill in 2001 relates to the acquisition of Pearson TV (now FremantleMedia).
2002 income tax expense reduced by release of tax provision; 2001 number includes tax expense on disposal of Premiere
Stripping out the first time consolidation of Phoenix Productions in Germany as well as of smaller TV, radio and content participations, the entry of Sportfive under the proportional consolidation method, the exit of businesses sold such as Atlantic 252, VCF and RTL 7, and the increase in the participation in M6 from 43.8 per cent to 45.8 per cent

For further information please contact:

Corporate Communications

Corporate Communications & Marketing
T.: +352 / 2486 5200

Investor Relations

Andrew Buckhurst
Senior Vice President
Investor Relations
T.: +352 / 24 86 5074

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