Channel Five owner posts a profit slump

GERMANY&rsquo;S Bertelsmann posted a 30 per cent drop in first-half operating profit due to a decline in advertising and consumer spending and said cost cuts had held off worse results.<br /><br />The owner of Channel Five parent company RTL Group, which reported results last week, and publisher Random House, implemented strict cost savings earlier in the year to counter falling advertising revenues and to minimise the impact of the economic crisis on the group.<br /><br />Chief executive Hartmut Ostrowski said the measures will lead to cost savings of &euro;900m (&pound;793m) this year.<br /><br />&ldquo;The second half of the year will still see cost cuts, but at present we expect that the programs we introduced will be sufficient to steer the group safely and successfully through this difficult economy,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />In the first six months of 2009 Bertelsmann&rsquo;s operating profit was &euro;475m compared with &euro;685m a year earlier on sales of &euro;7.2bn, down 6.5 per cent. Net loss was &euro;333m compared with a net profit of &euro;372m in the first half of 2008.<br /><br />Chief financial officer Thomas Rabe said &ldquo;financially, Bertelsmann is on safe ground&rdquo; and had &ldquo;good liquidity and adequate credit lines available&rdquo;.