Highlight in double-digit profit growth


COLOGNE, Germany -- Swiss media group Highlight Communications booked double-digit revenue and profit growth in 2006, helped by the record performance of German subsidiary Constantin Film.

According to preliminary figures released Friday, sales at Highlight jumped 18.2% to 546.4 million Swiss francs ($448 million) while profits bounced 17.7% to 26.6 million Swiss francs ($21.8 million).

Much of this growth was due to Constantin. Thanks to the smash boxoffice performance of Tom Tykwer's "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer," which has taken in more than $122 million worldwide, and a burgeoning TV business, Constantin posted its best-ever results this week (HR 3/29).

But Highlight warned investors not to expect a similar performance this year. With boxoffice returns off to a slow start in the company's core German market, Highlight forecast revenue of 500 million-520 million Swiss francs ($410 million-$426 million) for 2007. The company is targeting a profit per share of between 0.36-0.38 Swiss francs ($0.30-$0.31) compared with a profit per share of 0.57 Swiss francs ($0.48) last year.

Highlight on Friday was mum on the issue that interests investors, and industry insiders, the most: whether the Swiss group will move to delist Constantin Film. Highlight controls more than 90% of the German film group, and rumors that a delisting was eminent have been circulating for weeks.

By midday Friday, shares in Highlight were down 1.2% to €7.99 ($10.7).