ProSieben Q1 net profits leap to $28 mil

German ad market appears in good recovery

COLOGNE, Germany -- A rebound in the German ad market boosted Q1 results at pan-European broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, which saw net profits jump to €21.2 million ($28 million) in the first three months of this year. That compares to a €1.7 million profit in Q1 2009 in the midst of the financial crisis.

The profit figures and ProSieben's total revenue, which was up 5% to €658 million ($872 million) beat most analysts estimates and appears to point to a faster-than-expected recovery in Europe's richest TV market.

ProSieben shares shot up on the news Thursday. By mid-afternoon, ProSieben stock was trading up 13% at €14.2 ($18.8).

ProSieben's German free-TV revenues -- which include its flagship channels Sat.1, Pro7, Kabel1 and N24 -- were up 7.2% to €416.7 million ($553 million). The company's international free-TV division –--ProSiebenSat.1 has channels in Benelux, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe -- were up 4.5% to €160.8 million ($213 million).

ProSieben has trimmed its debt somewhat but is still holding €3.43 billion ($4.5 billion) in net obligations.

Private equity groups Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Permira together control 88% of ProSieben's voting stock, with Dutch media group Telegraaf holding 12%.
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