RTL Group announces its audited results for the year ended 31 December 2003

Luxembourg: 17 March 2004.  RTL Group, Europe’s leading broadcaster and content provider, announces its audited preliminary results for the year ended 31 December 2003  

 EUR, million

 Year to 31

 Year to 31

Per cent
 change (%)





 Reported EBITA [1]




 Restructuring charges



 Non recurring items



 Start up losses [2]



 Adjusted EBITA




 Reported EBITA margin (%)




 Adjusted EBITA margin (%)




 Reported EBITA




 Amortisation and impairment of



 Gain/ (loss) from sale of subsidiaries, joint ventures
 and other investments



 Net financial expense



 Income tax expense [3]



 Minority interest



 Profit/(loss) for the year



 Reported EPS EUR



 Adjusted EPS EUR




 Proposed/paid dividend per share




Business Headlines

Improved operating performance

  • Reported EBITA up almost 15 per cent to EUR 487 million.  This includes a provision amounting to EUR 20 million relating to the arbitration court decision against Antena 3.  Excluding this impact, EBITA rose to EUR 507 million, up 20% with all profit centres increasing their contribution
  • Record EBITA at RTL Television and M6
  • Five EBITA positive for the first time since launch in 1997
  • Increased audience and advertising market share in most markets
  • Increasing contribution to revenue and profit from non-advertising related activities
  • Diversification success and cost control lifted group EBITA margin to 10.9 per cent from 9.7 per cent


[1] EBITA represents earnings before interest and income tax expense excluding amortisation and impairment of goodwill and gain from sale of subsidiaries, joint ventures and other investments
[2] RTL Shop, Plug TV, Croatia and RTL FM (2002 RTL Shop only)
[3]  2002 income tax expense reduced by release of tax provision


Turnaround of under performing businesses 

  • HMG back on track, EUR 25 million EBITA contribution
  • Antena 3 restructuring and repositioning underway

Strategic developments

  • TV Licence to operate in Croatia won in September
  • Technical services division re-structured with integration of CBC into RTL Television and sale of LPC in March 2004
  • Corporate centre restructuring completed

Robust finances and strong cash generation

  • Underlying cost base down 3.3 per cent
  • EBITA cash conversion of 105 per cent
  • Net debt more than halved to EUR 298 million (from EUR 755 million) as result of strong cash conversion, tax repayments and active working capital management
  • Proposed dividend increase of 14.3 per cent to EUR 0.80 per share, sustainable dividend policy paying out 35-50 per cent of earnings    

Gerhard Zeiler, Chief executive RTL Group, said: “In 2003 we continued to deliver on our strategic goals and are proud of the improved results despite advertising market conditions which remained tough. We have focused keenly on diversification and our success in driving revenue and profit from non-advertising related activities is apparent in these numbers. We will continue to pursue these revenues, and to maintain tight cost control in 2004.  On the back of these results we now have the opportunity to focus more attention on enhancing our portfolio either through internal or external growth.

Going into 2004 we continue to remain cautious on how advertising market conditions will develop.  Whilst there are the first signs of growth in some of our markets, visibility remains limited and weak consumer confidence and retail sales remain a concern. 

We are focused on developing, or maintaining, leadership positions in the markets in which we operate, in terms of both audience and advertising market share.  Our success is based on the creativity of our people and the strength of our programming schedules.

The RTL Group strategy remains consistent and based upon three themes -geographic expansion, growth and exploitation of diversification revenue streams and development of the family of channels concept to counter increasing audience fragmentation.  We are confident that, as in the past, this strategy will prove itself to be a successful one.”

[4] Earnings for dividend payout ratio calculation defined as profit/(loss) for the year before amortisation and impairment of goodwill, gain or loss from sale of subsidiaries, joint-ventures, associates and other investments, net of taxes, and extraordinary items.

For further information, please contact :

Andrew Buckhurst
Head of External Communications and Investor Relations
00 352 2486 5130/5075

Julius Duncan / Katie Lang
Phone: 0044/207 251 3801