ECONOMY

Media sector sees net and operating profits drop despite significant rises in turnover

Media companies showed satisfactory growth rates in their revenues in 2005, despite initial estimates of a tough post-Olympics year. According to data from the companies’ financial reports, compiled and processed by Hellastat, the total sales of 100 companies (broadcasting stations and publishing enterprises) came to 2.2 billion euros last year, against 2 billion euros in 2004, an increase of 10 percent year-on-year. Despite the rise in turnover, operating profits (EBITDA) remained steady for these 100 companies from 2004 to 2005 at about 330 million euros, reducing the profit margins from 16.5 percent to 15 percent. Their total liabilities rose, coming to 1.85 billion euros against 1.66 billion euros in 2004. TV stations This domain of mass media firms has particular significance, as its 12 representatives in the sample account for 50 percent of total revenues, coming to 1.01 billion euros, while they produce about 85 percent of total operating profits. Netmed Hellas, the owner of FilmNet and Supersport, was the most profitable company in the sector in 2005, followed by sister company Multichoice. However, in terms of turnover, it is ERT that led last year, but that is not directly comparable with other firms due to its special operating status. Last year also proved a good one for Antenna, which showed a considerable increase in EBITDA, more than doubling its net profits. Yet it also is the company with the greatest obligations in the media sector, reaching 254 million euros. This is five times as high as its equities, which declined by 43 percent from 2004. Eleftheri Tileorasi, which owns and manages Alter TV, also had increased obligations. The listed company had liabilities of 204 million euros, some four times higher than its equities. Its profits showed a worrying decline, from 10.50 million euros in 2004 to 1.45 million euros in 2005. Worse, this year there seems to be no significant shift in the company’s earnings, as in the first half they remained stagnant despite the rise in turnover. The sector’s other listed company, Teletypos, which owns Mega Channel, reported profits 40 percent lower in 2005 as the extraordinary earnings from the sale of its stake in Multichoice in 2004 were not repeated last year. In this year’s first half, net profits dropped from 5.515 million euros to 4.67 million euros (-15.2 percent), while turnover rose to 74.89 million euros to 73.39 million euros in H1 2005 (+2.04 percent). Publishing companies Kathimerini was top in profits among publishing companies in 2005, being one of few to show a significant reduction in liabilities, which are at low levels. In terms of turnover, Lambrakis Press led in 2005, although its profits were severely reduced. Tegopoulos Publications followed, but despite maintaining its turnover at 110 million euros, it posted losses of 1.55 million euros against profits of 6.7 million euros in 2004, and significantly larger obligations. Lymberis Publications also had a good showing. The magazine-only company showed a considerable rise in turnover but a fall in earnings. Another notable case is that of financial newspaper Naftemporiki which, despite its limited turnover, has remarkable profits of about 3 million euros, classified as fourth in its sector, while enjoying very low borrowing.