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Bulgaria's bTV Boosts CME Revenue in 2011 Q1.

Regional broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises (CME) saw net revenue of USD 172.8 M in the first three months of 2011, a 20.3% increase year-on-year, largely thanks to its Bulgarian acquisition bTV.

CME's operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) for the first quarter rose to USD 14.2 M from USD 841 000 in 2010, the Czech Position reported.

Brokerage Atlantik finanAnA- trhy in its daily market comment had predicted a 13% rise in revenue for CME in the first quarter of 2011 to USD 167.2 M due to continued recovery in the ad market, while a survey of analysts compiled by Reuters had put it at USD 161.6 M.

"Our revenues and OIBDA significantly increased in the first quarter. We delivered positive free cash-flow ahead of our target. This is a result of our continued audience and market leadership, rigorous cost control, the positive contribution of the bTV group in Bulgaria, and growth in both Media Pro Entertainment and the New Media Division. In addition, our liquidity remained strong, and allowed us to buy back USD 24 M of debt and refinance USD 206.3 M of convertible notes due 2013. We remain confident that all our TV ad markets will grow in 2011," Adrian Sarbu, CME's president and CEO, said in a press release.

CME's Q1 operating loss decreased by USD 11.5 M to USD 7.7 M. Net loss attributable to the CME shareholders to USD 21.1 M compared to a loss of USD 42.3 M for Q1 2010.

On the Czech market, CME operates commercial station TV Nova as well as Nova Cinema, Nova Sport and MTV Czech. It is also present in Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Net revenue in Q1 2011 from the Czech market was USD 57.7 M, up from USD 54.3 M on the year, while OIBDA was USD 22.67 M, up from USD 22.18 M.

International media conglomerate Time Warner owns a 34.4% stake in Bermuda-registered CME and has 47% of the voting rights. CME is also partly owned by US investor Ronald Lauder. Q1 2011 results include the bTV group in Bulgaria, which CME acquired in April 2010 and exclude Ukraine operations that were disposed of at the same time.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation sold bTV for a total of USD 400 M plus a payment of USD 13 M for a working capital adjustment to Central European Media Enterprises.

Under the terms of the agreement, CME acquired 100% of the terrestrial free-to-air TV channel, bTV. It alsoA got control of the two genre channels, bTV Comedy and bTV Cinema, along with News Corporation's 74% interest in Radio Company C.J which operates five radio stations.

On March 28, 2011, CME announced that its subsidiary CME Media Pro entered into a purchase agreement to acquire a 100% stake in Bontonfilm, a film, home entertainment, digital and television rights distribution company with operations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.A
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Article Type:Financial report
Date:Apr 27, 2011
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