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UPDATE 1-Broadcaster RTL Group sees flat revenue in 2014
March 6, 2014 / 10:21 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Broadcaster RTL Group sees flat revenue in 2014

* Group expects revenue and EBITA to be broadly stable in 2014

* Signals openness for acquisitions

* 2013 revenue fell 1.8 percent to 5,889 billion euros

* 2013 EBITA increased 6.9 percent to 1.152 billion euros (Adds details on outlook, background, shares)

FRANKFURT, March 6 (Reuters) - European broadcaster RTL Group expects revenues and core earnings to stagnate in 2014 as advertising markets across the continent are expected to remain challenging, it said on Thursday.

“Assuming that European economies will continue to recover from the debt crisis, RTL Group expects its total revenue, at constant ... exchange rates, to be broadly stable,” the group said in a statement.

Earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA), excluding special items, are also expected to remain flat this year, Europe’s biggest broadcaster, majority-owned by German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, said.

In 2013, sales fell 1.8 percent to 5.889 billion euros ($8.09 billion), the group said, citing negative exchange rate effects and lower revenues at its production arm FreemantleMedia. EBITA excluding special items rose 7 percent to 1.152 billion euros.

The maker of hit talent shows such as “Idols” and “The X Factors” heavily depends on TV advertising and said most European ad markets, excluding Germany, probably fell last year.

RTL shares fell 3 percent to 92.19 euros leading the decliners in the German midcap index by 0940 GMT with traders pointing to the muted outlook.

Last month, rival ProSiebenSat.1 had said it was pretty optimistic about the development in the ad market and that it expected 2014 revenues to rise by a mid- to high-single-digit percentage.

RTL, which owns 55 television channels and 27 radio stations in Europe, signalled openness to acquisitions, saying based on its healthy financial position it had the investment capacity to “explore opportunities” across its strategic units broadcast, content and digital.

The group posted a 36 million euros net cash position at the end of 2013.

$1 = 0.7278 euros Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Christoph Steitz/Jeremy Gaunt

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