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BERTELSMANN SQUEAKS
OUT PROFIT
Books Help Offset Weaker Music Results
in First Half
Closely held Bertelsmann AG, one of Sony BMG’s two conglomerate parent companies, reported an 8% increase in operating earnings today, thanks to increased book sales and in spite of weakened music numbers.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were up €644 million in the six months to June, thanks to books including John Grisham’s The Broker and otherwise healthy publishing and printing numbers. Sales for the half declined 1.8% to €7.99 billion.

Bertelsmann’s BMG music unit, which these days consists of the Germans’ stake in SBMG, reported a drop in sales. “The BMG music division was on target, but did not match last year's first-half performance, which was characterized by extraordinary successes,'' the company said in the statement. BMG recorded a 35% decline in operating profit for the half on a 20% decline in revenue to €952 million.

The company says its release schedule is geared more toward the second half and expects results going forward to reflect that.

For the second quarter, Bertelsmann reported that net profit fell to €291 million from €511 million a year earlier (which included €247 million in profit from the sale of its New York headquarters), on a 3.7% decline in sales to €4.18 billion.
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