TF1 '06 revenue grows 5.8%

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PARIS -- French commercial broadcaster TF1 group posted a 5.8% increase in revenue in 2006 to €2.65 billion ($3.5 billion), the company announced Tuesday.

The TF1 channel's net advertising revenue totaled €1.79 billion ($2.4 billion), an increase of 3.7% from 2005.

The group's other activities grew 9.9% compared with 2005, an increase the French media giant attributes to strong results from its televised shopping network Teleshopping, French thematic channels, movie distribution arm TF1 International and Eurosport International activities.

The group's current operating profit came to €301 million ($395 million), down €38.2 million ($50 million) from 2005, due mostly to the excessive cost of the 2006 Soccer World Cup (€113.6 million) ($149 million).

Aside from the World Cup, other programming costs increased by 2.9%. Net debt costs came to €11.6 million ($15 million), down 5.7% from 2005 for an average 2006 net debt of €314 million ($413 million). Net result from continuing activities dropped 9.9% to €198.7 million ($261 million), thanks to the Canal+-TPS merger, a €253.6 million ($333 million) deal for the group, which included TF1's share of TPS eight-months profit.

Shareholders' funds came to €1.36 billion ($1.79 billion) on a balance sheet total of €3.7 billion ($4.86 billion).

TF1 chairman and CEO Patrick Le Lay plans to renew his post as of May and name Bouygues Telecom CEO Nonce Paolini to his board of directors.
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