CME Reports $35 Million Operating Losses in First Quarter

CEO Adrian Sarbu says profits are down by $21.7 million, but the company is taking resolute action.

Moscow -- Adrian Sarbu, head of Ralph Lauder's Eastern European TV net Central European Media Enterprises (CME) put a brave face on Monday with nearly $35 million operating losses in the first quarter this year, compared to 2012's $10.5 million loss.

The NASDAQ quoted network, which runs stations from London and Prague HQs across a swathe of Eastern European countries, reported profits down by $20.7 million compared to a profit of $14.1 million during the first quarter of 2012 on net revenues that were $137 million for the period compared with $267.4 in the same period a year ago.

Sarbu, CME's president and CEO, said the company was taking action to address challenges in its markets, but that some markets -- particularly the Czech Republic where viewership figures had dropped leading to a loss of advertising, were causing difficulties.

"2013 is a year of bold actions to restore the value we receive for our products. We raised advertising prices and carriage fees. The first quarter results reflect the initial phase of implementing these actions," he said.

“While successful in most of our countries, we met some resistance from certain media agencies and advertisers in the Czech Republic where consumption of (gross rating points) GRPs declined, impacting our revenues.”

He said the company was taking action to address pricing issues “in the Czech Republic and across our region... as we are determined to reverse the trend of declining TV advertising spending.”

The company was also seeking to raise money from selling shares, Sarbu said.

CME operates stations in Bulgaria, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.