Modern Times Group Takes $466 million Hit on East European Assets

Hans-Holger Albrecht - P 2011

The one-off write downs are mainly linked to the Swedish media giant's acquisition of Bulgaria's Nova Televizia in 2008.

COLOGNE, Germany - Swedish media giant Modern Times Group (MTG) has taken a one-time, $466 million (SEK 3.2 billion) hit linked to the company's broadcast assets in Bulgaria and Slovenia.

MTG will shut down its loss-making Slovenian TV network TV3 in the coming months, with a one-off cost of $31 million (SEK 212 million) and will write down some $435 million (SEK 2.98 billion) on Bulgarian network Nova Televizia, which MTG acquired in 2008. MTG paid  the network for $864 million (SEK 5.52 billion) for Nova Televizia and already took a $404 million (SEK 3.15 billion) impairment on the asset in 2009.

“These write-downs are mainly non-cash and primarily reflect the operating environment in Bulgaria, where the TV advertising market has not yet returned to growth and the wider Eurozone issues continue to impact," said company president and CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht. "This does not affect our commitment to the market, or our belief in the longer term potential of our Bulgarian operations.”

MTG is one of Europe's largest broadcasters and owns or in a shareholder in channels reaching around 125 million viewers across 35 countries in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Russia and Eastern Europe.