German Media Giant Bertelsmann Posts Stronger First Quarter

Thomas Rabe - PR Head Shot - H - 2011

Profit rose 54 percent at the parent company of TV powerhouse RTL and Random House.

BERLIN - Bertelsmann, the German-based media group that controls European broadcaster RTL and publisher Random House, kicked off 2012 with strong financial results.

Revenue jumped 5 percent to $4.7 billion (€3.64 billion) and group profit soared to $191 million (€147 million), more than 54 percent stronger than the €94 million that Bertelsmann had booked in the year-ago quarter.

The figures were all the more impressive given the fact that operating profit at Bertelsmann's largest division, broadcast group RTL, was flat at $248 million (€191 million) for the quarter.

"Bertelsmann started the new year on a high note," said Bertelsmann chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe, saying the results gave the group a "good starting position" for a longer-term restructuring plan initiated by Rabe that plans to see Bertelsmann expand aggressively into Asian markets. It could also see the family-controlled conglomerate issue shares on the stock market in an IPO.

For the full year, Rabe forecast "moderate revenue growth" and an increased profit.