Premiere CFO resigns

Alexander Teschner exits amid profit warning

COLOGNE, Germany -- Premiere's chief financial officer has resigned after a profit warning at Germany's leading pay-TV group.

Premiere announced it would lose between 40 million euros and 70 million euros ($55 million-$97 million) this year and that subscriber figures are almost 1 million less than previously reported. The company is in negotiations with its banks to restructure its debt. CFO Alexander Teschner has resigned.

Premiere's new CEO, Mark Williams, the man appointed by News Corp. to clean up the German pay player, will take over CFO duties until a replacement for Teschner can be found. News Corp. is Premiere's largest shareholder with a 25% stake.

Williams, also News Corp. CFO for Europe and Asia, has promised a "new strategic direction" for Premiere. But the mess he has found since taking the helm of the Munich-based broadcaster is even greater than expected.

Premiere has only 2.4 million direct subscribers, not over 3.3 million as it had previously claimed. Williams cut 940,000 supposed subscribers from the rolls after a look at Premiere's books. Average revenue per user is 24 euros ($33) a month.

Premiere announced the profit warning late Thursday, after markets closed before Friday's national holiday in Germany in an apparent attempt to minimize the damage to its share price. But Monday will likely see a run on the stock. In after-hours trading, Premiere shares fell 14% to 8 euros.
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