February 26, 2014 / 1:05 PM / in 4 years

L'Espresso says 2014 outlook uncertain after profit fall

MILAN, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Italian publisher L‘Espresso said visibility over its 2014 results was limited after posting on Wednesday a sharper-than-expected drop in its 2013 net profit.

The company said net profit last year fell to 3.7 million euros ($5.1 million) from 21.8 million euros in 2012, missing a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S consensus of 11 million euros.

L‘Espresso, publisher of influential Italian daily La Repubblica, said the advertising market kept showing uncertain signals, with the radio sector appearing to recover, while print advertising remained in a critical situation.

Revenues fell 12.4 percent to 711.6 million euros, dragged by a 15 percent drop in advertising sales, which represent more than half of its total business.

The company said it would not pay a dividend on its 2013 results. Net debt fell to 73.5 million euros at the end of December, it added.

Shares in L‘Espresso were down 3 percent after the results.

The company also said talks with Telecom Italia Media to merge their broadcasting activities were still underway. ($1 = 0.7282 euros) (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, editing by Agnieszka Flak)

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