RTL Group has reported that it continues to monitor the rapid worldwide spread of the Coronavirus disease closely, placing the highest priority on the health of its employees and on protecting its businesses.
RTL Group’s TV channels, radio stations, streaming services and websites currently register significantly higher reach and usage as they provide information and entertainment to millions of people who face unprecedented disruptions to their daily lives.
Given that RTL Group’s businesses are part of a country’s critical infrastructure, the Group has activated business continuity plans across its footprint. These steps have been taken to ensure that the Group’s TV channels and radio stations continue their activities and include the implementation of counter measures to reduce costs and preserve liquidity. RTL Group has low levels of debt and significant, unused and committed Bertelsmann credit facilities with no maturities before 2023.
Given the current economic uncertainty, the Group’s Board of Directors has decided today to withdraw the previous outlook (dated March 13th) which did not reflect the coronavirus outbreak. Global economic development and prospects have significantly deteriorated since mid-March, when RTL Group gave its outlook statement. The Group is currently not in a position to provide a new outlook for the full year 2020. While Q1/2020 will be broadly in line with expectations, cancellations of advertising bookings and postponements of productions will negatively impact the Group’s results in the coming months.
In these unprecedented circumstances, RTL says the preservation of liquidity becomes an essential precaution to safeguard the its present operations and future prospects. RTL Group’s Board of Directors has therefore decided to withdraw its earlier proposal of a €4 per share dividend in respect of the fiscal year 2019. No dividend will now be proposed to the Annual Meeting of Shareholders on June 30th.
RTL Group’s three-priority strategy – core, growth, alliances & partnerships – remains unchanged. RTL Group maintains its mid-term targets for the streaming services TV Now in Germany and Videoland in the Netherlands, as communicated on March 13th: to grow its total number of paying subscribers to between 5 and 7 million, to grow streaming revenue to at least €500 million and to break even by 2025.