Fuji, TBS log strong years


TOKYO -- Two of Japan's biggest private television companies -- Fuji Television Network and Tokyo Broadcasting System -- reported positive economic results for fiscal 2006 on Tuesday.

Fuji TV shrugged off the impact of the Livedoor scandal on its corporate bottom line, announcing that its net profit for fiscal 2006 had more than doubled from the previous year.

The increase in profits at Japan's largest independent television broadcaster -- up to ¥24.85 billion ($207 million) -- came in the wake of last year's massive loss from the sale of shares in scandal-hit Internet provider Livedoor.

"Last year was a special year that affected us seriously, but we have succesfully overcome that now," said Nobuhiro Nagai, a spokesman for the company's Investor Relations Division, though he suggested that there might be a slight decline again in the next fiscal year.

Fuji TV spent ¥44 billion on more than 133 million Livedoor shares at ¥329 each in May 2005. Despite rising to a peak of nearly ¥700 a share, an accounting scandal that broke in January 2006 saw them tumble to the ¥100 level before the company was delisted.

Takafumi Horie, the 35-year-old entrepreneur who built Livedoor into one of the largest companies in Japan in the space of a couple of years was convicted of securities law violations.

Horie maintains his innocence and has appealed the ruling and the 20-month prison term he was given.

Fuji TV was forced to declare a ¥34.9 billion ($290.4 million) one-time loss for the sale of its 12.74% stake in Livedoor.

For the 12-month period through March 31, Fuji TV's pretax profit fell 8.6% to ¥46 billion ($382.7 million), with revenues down 1.8% from record earnings in fiscal 2006.

TBS pinned the 54.4% increase in its group operating profit on its coverage of major sporting events. The broadcaster won the rights to screen the World Cup soccer finals in Germany last summer and the Volleyball World Championships as well as a range of special one-off programs and drama productions.

TBS also rose up the ranks to become the second most-watched channel on Japanese television for the first time in 18 years. Nevertheless, it remains a target for the Rakuten group, which wants to bring the broadcaster under its corporate wing. TBS is recisting the takeover approach.
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