RTL: Five should make a profit later this year

Steve Dinneen
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Former Five owner RTL expects the loss-making broadcaster to swing back into profit this year, despite clocking a first half loss of €49m (£40m) on the channel.

The venture was sold to Express owner Richard Desmond last month for £103.5m. Its operating loss was just €6m but RTL wrote down a further €36m before offloading it.

Desmond plans to streamline the operation, with 80 of its 300 staff expected to be out of a job.

Among the most high profile leavers is Five chair and chief executive Dawn Airey, who actioned a clause in her contract guaranteeing her a job with RTL if Five was sold. RTL would not comment yesterday on what role Dawn would take with the firm.

The news comes as RTL posted revenue growth of 7.5 per cent in its first half, with advertising income finally beginning to pick up.

This allowed the media giant to swing to a profit of €257m, a remarkable turnaround after posting losses of €105m the year before.

Chief executive Gerhard Zeiler said: “The stronger than expected rebound seen in the Western European TV advertising markets is the result of the overall economic recovery.”