Central European Media Enterprises (CME), which owns and operates a number of television stations across emerging Europe, including TV Nova in the Czech Republic, bTV in Bulgaria and Pro TV in Romania, has announced a big increase in advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2018.
TV advertising revenues increased 26 per cent at actual rates during the quarter, while carriage fees and subscription revenues increased 23 per cent. OIBDA increased 45 per cent at actual rates, resulting in OIBDA margin expansion to 22 per cent from 19 per cent. This increase in OIBDA improved operating income 61 per cent at actual rates.
Michael Del Nin, Co-CEO, commented: “Today’s series of announcements bode very well for the future of CME. Firstly, the financial results for Q1 represent our strongest start to any year in a decade. The increase in profitability and cash flow generation in the quarter have helped drive down our leverage ratio and, when paired with the proceeds from warrants that have now been exercised, allow us to complete another key step in our ongoing deleveraging plan. But just as importantly, the new refinancing transactions, which address the maturity profile of our debt and significantly cut our borrowing costs to record lows, put in place the capital structure that we need for the exciting next phase of the company’s future.”
Christoph Mainusch, Co-CEO, added: “We won the prime time grid in each country nearly every night during the quarter, which contributed to significant revenue growth. Our channels provide extensive reach for advertisers because they continue to be the most popular source of news and entertainment in our countries. We will invest in local content, while focusing on controlling costs overall, and remain market leaders in our territories.”
On April 25, Time Warner exercised 100,926,996 warrants, the proceeds of which amount to 100.9 million US dollars. CME intends to use this, along with excess cash on hand, to repay 110 million euros of outstanding principal balance on a 2018 Euro Term Loan.
CME expects to conclude the sale of its operations in Croatia (Nova TV) and Slovenia (Pop TV) to Slovenia Broadband in the coming months, subject to final regulatory approvals. The deal will raise 230 million US dollars.
CME continues to operate in four markets, with an aggregate audience of more than 40 million across emerging Europe. CME operations broadcast more than 20 television channels in Bulgaria (bTV, bTV Cinema, bTV Comedy, bTV Action, bTV Lady and Ring), the Czech Republic (Nova, Nova 2, Nova Cinema, Nova Sport 1, Nova Sport 2, Nova International, Nova Action and Nova Gold), Romania (Pro TV, Pro 2, Pro X, MTV Romania, Pro TV Chisinau and Pro 2 Moldova) and Slovakia (TV Markíza, Markíza International, Doma and Dajto).
CME is listed on both the NASDAQ and Prague Stock Exchanges.