RTL predicts earnings boost as listing looms

European broadcaster RTL Group has said its first quarter EBITA for the year is expected to increase by a mid-to-high single digit percentage year-on-year.

In a trading update ahead of a listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the media group said that the German TV ad market was up by low single digits in the first quarter and that RTL Deutschland had, as expected, lost some market share.

The Dutch market, meanwhile, is in negative territory, Bertelsmann-owned RTL said, with a similar decline to that experienced in 2013 expected for this year. The Belgian market declined by 10% for the first quarter, while the TV ad markets in Spain and Hungary experienced severe declines.

RTL, which owns producer FremantleMedia, said that its EBITA growth was being driven by the solid performance of RTL Deutschland and that it expected first quarter revenue to be in line with the strong first quarter experience in 2012.

The update came as RTL Group announced the price range for its secondary public offering.

Majority-owner Bertelsmann has set a price range at €54-62 (US$71-81) per share for a public offering comprising up to 25.5 million shares, including a possible over-allotment option of up to 2.3 million shares. The company said this could raise funds of up to US$2.1 billion.

The shares are expected to start trading in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on April 30. They are being offered by Bertelsmann and RTL will not raise new capital via the public offering or receive any proceeds from it.

Bertelsmann confirmed earlier this month that it planned to reduce its holding in RTL while maintaining a majority stake of at least 75% and that it would complete the move via a “secondary public offering” that would result in a significant increase in RTL Group shares. In addition to the Frankfurt listing, Bertelsmann said it would also offer shares to institutional investors outside Germany and Luxembourg via private placements.

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