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Motor racing- Formula E reports record revenues and first profit

FILE PHOTO: Motorsport - Formula E - Berlin ePrix - Berlin-Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany - May 25, 2019 Nissan E.Dams' Sebastien Buemi during qualifying REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

LONDON (Reuters) - The all-electric Formula E series reported record audience figures and revenues on Thursday as well as making a profit for the first time thanks to sponsorship growth.

The city-based series, which starts its sixth championship in Saudi Arabia in November, said revenues increased 50% to more than 200 million euros ($220.54 million) last season, according to preliminary figures.

EBITDA -- earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation -- was positive for the first time.

While no full breakdown was provided, a spokesman put the profit at around 1 million euros and said sponsorship was up 25%.

Formula E said the cumulative television audience had grown 24% year-on-year to more than 411 million with 72% of fans on social media aged under 35.

“Like the next generation cars themselves, the speed of growth is getting faster and faster,” said founder and chief executive Alejandro Agag.

“The progress we’ve made in such a short space of time is very pleasing and is also reflected in record revenues, which exceed over €200 million for the first time.”

Formula E, which came close to collapse in its inaugural season, posted losses of 26.4 million euros ($30.00 million) in season four ending July 31, 2018 after being 20.8 million in the red a year earlier.

The series has Liberty Global and Discovery Communications as major shareholders.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis