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ProSiebenSat.1 First-Quarter Earnings Beat Expectations

ProSiebenSat.1 Media said first-quarter EBITDA rose 16.1% to 82.0 million euros from 70.6 million a year earlier on the back of rising advertising revenues.

The result beat the 78.7 million euros consensus forecast of analysts polled by Thomson Financial News partner dpa-AFX.

Sales in the three months through March grew to 501.2 million euros from 465.3 million euros, the German broadcaster said. Analysts had expected 495.1 million euros.

Net profit for the period grew to 40.6 million euros from 30.7 million euros, compared with the consensus forecast of million euros.

"The ProSiebenSat.1 Group got off to a good start this year. We saw growth in both our core business in Free TV and our new operations," chief executive Guillaume de Posch said. "We are confident that our stations' programming will pick up further strength, while we continue to build up our diversification and online initiatives." ProSieben also reaffirmed that it expects its advertising revenues to grow slightly faster than the German TV advertising market as a whole, which is expected to show net growth of 2-3%.

ProSieben also expects revenues and earnings, as well as its profitability, to increase this year.

ProSieben, which was last year taken over by private equity groups KKR and Permira, affirmed it expects both sales and earnings to increase this year as it anticipates the German TV advertising market will grow 2-3%.

KKR and Permira now own 88% of voting common shares and about 13% of non-voting preference shares, collectively representing about 50.5% of the aggregate share capital.

De Posch last month said the company could take over SBS Broadcasting Group by the fourth quarter of this year in a bid to create one of Europe's leading television companies.

ProSiebenSat.1 will make a decision on whether to make a bid for SBS by the end of July, after completing due diligence, de Posch said.

The company would finance the takeover with loans rather than a capital increase, to take advantage of its low debt level, he said.