CME reports 37% drop in revenue

Ad rev slumps in six of its seven markets

COLOGNE, Germany -- CME, one of the largest broadcasting groups in Central and Eastern Europe, on Wednesday posted a 37% drop in net revenue, to $141.2 million, for the first three months of the year.

The broadcasting giant also noted that 2008's first-quarter profit of $14.5 million turned into a $44.5 million net loss for the first quarter of 2009.

Ad revenue slumped in six of the seven markets CME operates. The company only entered the seventh, Bulgaria, in August, so there are no comparison figures there.

President and COO Adrian Sarbu called the first quarter the "toughest in our (15-year) history across all markets." But he added that liquidity is ensured thanks to Time Warner's recent $241.5 million cash injection into CME.

Time Warner is the largest single shareholder in CME, with a 31% stake and 38% voting rights in the company.

Founder Ronald Lauder and investment group Apax Partners together control a 40% stake.