Mediaset returns to profit on cost cuts, lower impairments

MILAN, March 25 Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:54pm EDT

MILAN, March 25 (Reuters) - Italy's biggest broadcaster Mediaset returned to an annual profit of 8.9 million euros ($12.3 million) in 2013 and core profit beat expectations thanks to cost cutting and lower impairments.

The company, controlled by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, said advertising sales in Italy in the first three months of 2014 were still slightly negative but improved strongly in April.

It said it was hard to make a reliable forecast on advertising trends in its core Italian and Spanish markets for the whole of 2014.

In 2013, revenues fell about 8 percent to 3.41 billion euros, while operating profit, or earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), stood at 246 million euros against a loss of 235 million euros in 2012, the company said in a statement.

A Thomson Reuters consensus indicated 2013 revenues of 3.44 billion euros and an EBIT of 206 million euros.

In 2012 the company posted its first ever annual net loss of 287 million euros due write-downs on sports TV rights. ($1 = 0.7258 Euros) (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, editing by Stephen Jewkes)

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