Robust finances and strong cash generation
|# || ||EBITA cash flow conversion 140 per cent |
|# || ||Proposed dividend EUR 0.7 per share (2001 : EUR 0.5 per share) up 40 per cent, sustainable dividend policy to pay out 35-50 per cent of earnings |
Gerhard Zeiler, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RTL Group, said: “These figures show that I am assuming responsibility for RTL Group at a time of great stability when many of our peers are struggling. They are a tribute to my predecessor Didier Bellens and the team he has built within the Group, and I am looking forward with confidence to the challenge of taking the company forward from such a strong starting point. This is a pan-European operation that is based on creativity where synergies have grown naturally and profitably, rather than being imposed. Looking ahead we will continue to build the successful partnerships within the Group, we will continue to control our costs carefully without detracting from our schedules and we will also continue to develop our diversification businesses.”
Thomas Rabe, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of RTL Group, said: “These strong results demonstrate our ability to drive both top line growth and operating profitability. We have improved the efficiency of the business over the past year by identifying cost savings across the Group and by successful restructuring. These savings have resulted in a reduction in the cost base of over 3%. As a result, there has been an improvement in EBITA in all segments and strong cash conversion across the Group. The net result for the year is EUR minus 56 million due primarily to a goodwill impairment of EUR 70 million and write-downs on financial assets of EUR 49 million.
Management will continue to drive efficiencies and synergies across the Group exploiting its unique pan-European position. Through these ongoing measures the management is confident that the business is well positioned to bring improved revenue and earnings performance.”
Based on forward bookings to date, advertising market conditions continue to be difficult in 2003, with low visibility throughout RTL Group’s operations. RTL Group continues to develop non-advertising related revenue streams and can already say, after the first two months of 2003, that it is having some worthwhile success. However, the economic and political environment adds to the uncertainty.
The RTL Group stations are well positioned to cope with these challenges due to the continued investment in programming that will drive audience share. The cost containment measures implemented since 2001 have already shown significant positive effects. RTL Group will continue to focus on cash generation, thereby increasing flexibility for the funding of internal and external growth.
A conference call for analysts and investors will proceed at 09:30h London time on Monday, March 17, 2003. The dial in number is + 44 20 7162 0179 and password RTL. A recording of this meeting will be available on + 44 20 8288 4459 and passcode 433862 from March 17, 2003 for 7 days.