Acquisitions help drive MTG results

Jorgen Madsen LindemannThe Modern Times Group has increased profit and revenue in the most recent quarter on the back of several acquisitions and the strong performance of its Nordic business.

MTG, which recently restructured its free TV operations in Sweden, said that in is core Nordic markets growth in digital and online offset lower linear viewing and declining TV ad sales.

In the emerging markets, MTG said higher profits in the free TV segment were offset by losses in pay TV, adding that it has made efforts to secure premium sports and studio content.

MTG also addressed developments in Russia, where prohibitive advertising restrictions have been introduced for foreign channels, spurring the likes of NBCUniversal to pull out of the market. It noted a potential amendment to the ad-ban, which would allow ads if a channel was programmed with 75% Russian content.

MTG added that it will continue to explore its options in Russia. president and CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann (pictured) said: “We are working with a range of potential solutions, in order to best protect the interests of the stakeholders in these entertainment businesses that we have built into some of the most popular in Russia.”

Speaking about the wider performance of the company, he said: “The results for the quarter again demonstrate the progress that we are making towards our strategic goals. We do have substantial FX headwinds right now, but the operations continue to perform well.”

MTG has absorbed the Trace channels group, DRG and Nice Entertainment, after an acquisitions spree.

The Stockholm-listed free and pay TV broadcast group posted 4Q revenues of SEK4.4 billion (US$531 million) compared with SEK4.1 billion a year earlier. Full-year 2014 revenues of SEK15.8 billion compared with SEK14.1 billion a year earlier. EBIT profit was up in the most recent quarter to SEK468 million from SEK461 million a year earlier, but full-year 2014 EBIT profit of SEK1.27 billion was down on the 1.3 billion recorded in 2013.