Bertelsmann Heads For Record Profits

Bertelsmann recorded record profits in the first nine months of 2013, and expects full-year profits to be 20 percent up on last year.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (operating EBITDA) rose from euro 1.43 billion to euro 1.47 billion.

Operating EBIT was up to euro 1.1 billion, just shading last year’s nine-month record of euro 1.09 billion.

Bertelsmann’s best performer was TV and radio business RTL Group, which made euro 622 million in nine months and is already ahead of the euro 619 million it made in the whole of 2012.

Thomas Rabe, the German media firm’s chairman and chief exec, said the results make him optimistic about the remainder of the financial year.

“We have taken important strategic steps in recent months towards making Bertelsmann a faster-growing, more digital and more international group,” Rabe said.

Rabe says that during the period under review, progress was made on all four strategic priorities – strengthening the core, digital transformation, expanding growth platforms and expansion in growth regions – which “will have an enhanced impact on results going forward.”

One example is completing the acquisition of music rights company BMG, formerly co-owned by investment house KKR Capital, which has recently signed new contracts with artists including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Robbie Williams and The Backstreet Boys.

The creation of the world’s leading trade book publisher Penguin Random House, thanks to a merger between Penguin and Bertelsmann’s Random House, will further strengthen the position.

In the third quarter alone, Penguin Random House had 179 titles on the New York Times bestseller list.

Bertelsmann chief financial officer Judith Hartmann says the nine-month results once again confirm Bertelsmann’s profitability.

“We are in excellent shape financially, and will be able to invest several billion euros into implementing the group strategy over the next few years,” she said.