EM.Sport Media posts major losses for 2008

German rights group books net loss of $175 mil

CANNES -- German rights group EM.Sport Media booked a net loss of €131.3 million ($175 million) last year on sales of €384.6 million ($512 million) as write-offs linked to EM’s acquisition of Switzerland’s Highlight Communications burned a hole through the company’s balance sheet.

EM took a €88.3 million ($117 million) direct hit from goodwill impairments on the Highlight deal, completed last summer, and wrote off a further €53.5 million ($71 million) on Highlight film assets.

But EM is upbeat for 2009, targeting sales of between €500 million - €520 million ($665 million - $692 million) and forecasting a profit for the year of between four and six cents a share.

The company is in the process of squeezing out minority shareholders in German indie film giant Constantin, a Highlight subsidiary, with the aim of taking the company off the German stock market. EM will then rename itself Constantin Medien.