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[ December 2nd 2001 ]

EM.TV & Merchandising AG said business in the third quarter to end-September was boosted by 7 Formula One motor racing competitions as well as license deals for its cartoon characters. "The third quarter developed significantly better than the previous two quarters," the troubled media company said in a statement to publish nine month results.

Furthermore, the success of the feature film Tomb Raider contributed to results from TeleMuenchenGruppe, in which it has a 45 pct stake. However, a 218 mln dm burden in the financial result, attributed to interest payments for its Formula One participation, pushed nine month pretax into a loss of 115 mln dm.

EBIT for the first nine months to end-September, including scheduled write offs of 418 mln dm from its stake in SLEC, the Formula One holding company, came in at a profit of 104 mln dm on sales of 1.24 bln dm. No comparison figures were provided because EM.TV did not publish group results for the first nine months to include its 45 pct stake in TMG and its Muppets unit the Jim Henson Company.

The events division, which operates merchandising for Formula One motor racing, made by far the largest contribution to sales of 864 mln dm, while the rights division made up 362 mln dm and consumer products 15 mln dm of total sales. Its stake in SLEC was fully consolidated in results for July and August, but was treated as an associated company on the basis of the equity stake under the financial result in September, it said.

In September, EM.TV handed over a 21,3 pct stake in SLEC to KirchGruppe, slashing its shareholding to 16.75 pct. Cash flow for the nine months amounted to 289 mln dm, while cash flow for the operating business stood at 152 mln dm.

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