Vocento shares up after IPO launch

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MADRID -- Spanish media conglomerate Vocento launched a public offer of 19% of its shares on the Spanish stock exchange Wednesday, breaking a two-year dry spell in media group IPOs in Spain.

Vocento -- which owns 13% of commercial television channel Telecinco, as well as controlling production houses Europroducciones, BocaBoca and distributor Tripictures -- started trading at €15 ($19.16 per share, valuing the company at €1.9 billion ($2.4 billion).

After two hours of trading, the company was up 3.13% at €15.47 ($19.76), and at market close it was 3.47% up at €15.52 ($19.83) per share.

Vocento also owns 51 local TV stations, 30% of TV producer Videomedia, digital terrestrial television operator Net TV, radio chain Punto Radio and national daily ABC.

Vocento posted first-half net operating profits of $83.75 million and sales of $540.8 million.

The debut takes place at a time when the Spanish market is at record highs, with the Ibex-35 index up 31% in 2006, but with media groups weakly performing across the board.

So far this year, commercial TV channel Antena 3 is down 17%, film and TV powerhouse Sogecable dropped 24% and private television channel Telecinco slipped 3%.
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