• Revenues stable at €3.94bn as fiscal year gets underway
  • Marked increase in digital revenues
  • Operating EBITDA remains high at €482m despite start-up losses for new businesses and customers
  • Group profit increases to €198m
  • Strategic advances across all divisions

Bertelsmann began the 2017 financial year with a higher Group profit. The international media, services and education company’s revenues remained stable at €3.94 billion in the first three months of the current year (previous year: €3.95 billion). Operating EBITDA was high once again at €482 million (previous year: €500 million). The EBITDA margin was 12.2 percent (previous year: 12.7 percent).

The reporting period was subject to a comparison with last year’s first quarter that – unlike this year – contained the ad sales-intensive Easter period; and RTL Group had to cope with the loss of income caused by the discontinuation of the “American Idol” talent show in the U.S.

In addition, start-up losses for digital and new businesses were incurred, among other things, for new customers of the services subsidiary Arvato. Group profit rose to €198 million (previous year: €185 million), once again exceeding the previous year’s high figure by seven percent.

Thomas Rabe, Chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann, said: “We’ve had a very successful start to the year, with Bertelsmann’s second-highest operating result ever and much higher Group profit. This demonstrates that we are on the right path with the implementation of our strategy and our new corporate structure. We are confident of achieving our goals for the full year 2017.”

Bertelsmann has made a series of strategic advances in recent months. For instance, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland increased its lead over the largest commercial competitor in terms of viewer market share. Groupe M6 increased its combined audience share in France in the relevant target group. RTL Group’s first-quarter digital revenues surged by 48 percent to €178 million (previous year: €120 million). In the U.S., the premier of the fantasy series “American Gods” at the end of April was a success for Fremantle Media. Penguin Random House recorded a strong bestseller performance, and in February, the group secured world publishing rights to books by Barack Obama and by Michelle Obama. Gruner + Jahr recorded a 38-percent increase in digital revenues in Germany, to €43 million (previous year: €31 million); new launches included the magazine “F Mag.” The music division BMG saw double-digit growth, and, with the acquisition of the Nashville-based BBR Music Group, made its biggest single acquisition in the recordings business since its launch in 2008. In May, four BMG artists made it to Number One in the album charts in France, Germany, Italy and Sweden in one seven-day period.

Arvato further expanded its international logistics activities, especially for key customers in high-tech and e-commerce. The services subsidiary also bought a stake in the FinTech start-up Solaris Bank and took over the Indian IT analytics company Ramyam. The Bertelsmann Printing Group benefitted from good capacity utilization at its production plants, and Mohn Media put a third 96-page rotary press into operation in Gütersloh in early May.

The Bertelsmann Education Group recorded double-digit revenue growth. Among other things, the online education provider Relias Learning announced the acquisition of the e-learning company Advanced Practice Strategies.

Bertelsmann once again expanded its holdings in international start-ups through its Bertelsmann Investments network of funds. Among other things, Bertelsmann Asia Investments (BAI) in China topped up its holdings in the bike-sharing app Mobike, and Bertelsmann India Investments (BII) acquired a stake in the educational provider Eruditus.

Source: Bertelsmann Press Release