* Says plans 500 mln-zloty share buyback in 2014-2015
* Expects mid single-digit percentage pick-up in local TV ad market
* One-offs capped group’s Q4, 2013 profits (Adds analyst and CEO comment)
WARSAW, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Polish broadcaster TVN surprised the market on Thursday with plans to buy back shares and redeem some debt and the promise of a rebound in advertising in 2014 after several lean years.
The broadcaster, with a market value of about 5.6-billion zlotys ($1.8 billion), plans to buy back 500 million zlotys ($163 million) worth of shares this year and next, with up to half of the programme to be completed in 2014.
The group, which closed 2013 with net debt of 2.18 billion zlotys, also got its supervisory board’s approval to buy back up to 60 million euros ($81.5 million) of debt.
“A good start to the year gives us reason to raise our expectations regarding the pick-up in the television ad market from low- to mid-single (percentage) digits (this year),” TVN’s chief Markus Tellenbach said in a statement.
He also said he believed TVN would increase market share thanks to the successful implementation of a new sales strategy.
“The share buyback is positive news. It replaces a dividend payout,” DM BZ WBK analyst Lukasz Kosiarski said.
“The buyback of debt is also good. Results are worse than epxected, but it’s all due to one-offs, so the market reaction should be neutral or slightly positive.”
TVN, which broadcasts Polish versions of such formats as MasterChef and Project Runway, closed last year with the only quarterly net profit, of 46 million zlotys, which was about half of what the market expected.
Costs of programming and debt, restructuring at a pay-TV unit and an impairment charge on its spun-off web arm skewed the group’s profitability, resulting in a 21 percent dip in operating profit to 297 million zlotys - around 100 million below analysts’ forecasts. ($1=3.0601 zlotys) ($1=0.7359 euros) (Reporting by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by Greg Mahlich)