ProSieben says advertising rebound helps 2020 results

BERLIN (Reuters) - German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 on Thursday reported better-than-expected preliminary results for 2020, helped by a recovery of its advertising business in the fourth quarter.

The company recorded 2020 revenues of around 4.04 billion euros ($4.91 billion) and an adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of around 700 million, both ahead of targets it set.

It said in a statement that all parts of the group contributed to strong performance in the fourth quarter, but particularly advertising, which grew in a low single-digit percentage range, above a previous forecast for a decline.

Net financial debt fell to around 1.97 billion euros, also better than initial excitations, and the group said it had prepaid 600 million euro notes ahead of schedule.

Chief Executive Rainer Beaujean reiterated he expected that current coronavirus lockdown measures would hit the advertising business in the first quarter, but he expects a significant improvement in the entertainment segment in the second quarter.

The company is due to publish its full 2020 results and financial outlook for 2021 on March 4.

Earlier on Thursday, Italian broadcaster Mediaset said it had increased its direct holding in ProSiebenSat.1 to about 12.38%, with its overall holding including derivatives amounting to 23.5%, according to a regulatory filing.

($1 = 0.8222 euros)

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by David Gregorio