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Mediaset SpA returned to profit in 2013

Dividends canceled but debt is down, company says in 2013 report

25 March, 19:30
Mediaset SpA returned to profit in 2013 (ANSA) - Milan, March 25 - Italy's largest commercial broadcaster, Mediaset SpA., on Tuesday posted its 2013 year-end financial results, saying it returned to profit by offsetting an 11.4% drop in advertising sales with cost-cutting measures at its Italian TV operations.

Net income in 2013 totaled 8.9 million euros compared with a net loss in 2012, the Milan-based company said in a statement.

Earnings before interest and taxes, or Ebit, totalled 246.3 million euros compared with a loss of 35.4 million euros in 2012.

The company founded in the 1970s by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi also confirmed it canceled dividend distribution to shareholders. The company reported earnings at its Mediaset Premium pay TV of 552 million euros, up 6.6% over 2012.

"This is a positive result that bucks the trend in the pay TV market, where families are consuming less", the company said in a statement.

Earnings at its EI Towers division were unchanged at 233 million.

Mediaset Italy advertising income "continued slightly negative," in the first quarter of 2014, the company said. Results this year will depend on the Italian and Spanish advertising markets, which are difficult to forecast accurately right now, according to Mediaset.

Berlusconi controls Mediaset through his family holding company Fininvest. The group competes primarily against public broadcaster and market leader RAI, commercial channel La7, and 21st Century Fox's Sky Italia.