PRAGUE, April 26 Broadcaster Central European
Media Enterprises (CME) on Wednesday reported
a 29 percent rise in first-quarter core profit, boosted by
growing television advertising markets and increasing
Operating income before depreciation and amortisation
(OIBDA) rose to $22.1 million, topping the average estimate of
$19.5 million in a Reuters poll.
Revenue also beat estimates, growing by nearly 5 percent to
CME is looking to use growth this year to begin paying down
its $1 billion debt pile. After a strong 2016, though, analysts
see slower earnings growth this year.
The broadcaster, which operates in six central and eastern
European countries, said ad markets increased by an estimated 9
percent at constant rates. It saw higher demand in Romania and
increased spending in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Slovenia.
Carriage fees and subscription revenue grew 15 percent at
"These great financial results, combined with the recent
transaction to lower the cost of all of our outstanding debt,
have made the first quarter one of significant progress and
achievement, causing us to be very optimistic about the rest of
2017," co-Chief Executive Michael Del Nin said.
"We feel confident that we are on track for yet another year
of strong earnings growth and significant deleveraging."
CME in March announced a debt repricing deal with its main
shareholder Time Warner that cut its weighted average
borrowing cost by 150 basis points to 7.25 percent.
The company will discuss the quarterly results later on
Wednesday and markets are watching for full-year guidance.
CME reported a 21 percent rise in core profit last year at
constant rates. Its shares have risen 33.9 percent in the past
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; editing by Jason Neely)