Bertelsmann profits down

German media giant Bertelsmann has reported that its 2008 net profit dropped by a third to E270 million after it was forced to make recession-related adjustments to the value of some of its investments. Impairment charges of E502 million — the bulk from television unit RTL and its stake in Five in the UK — were a drag on operating earnings, which hit E1.6 billion last year compared with E1.7 billion in 2007.

Thomas Rabe, chief financial officer, declined to give a formal forecast for the current year, but said operating earnings and sales would quite likely come in below those seen in 2008. Bertelsmann pruned its portfolio last year by selling its half share in music company SonyBMG to Sony and closing many of its book club operations, moves which helped boost profitability.

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