Broadcaster CME shares drop after record quarterly loss
PRAGUE (Reuters) - Central European Media Enterprises (CME) (CETV.O) (CETV.PR) slumped to a record fourth-quarter net loss after a hefty writedown and missed 2012 core profit guidance, sending its shares down almost 10 percent.
The broadcaster said it was looking to raise cash by selling assets, lifting fees and holding talks with its largest shareholder, Time Warner Inc (TWX.N), over increasing its stake.
U.S. media company Time Warner, owner of the HBO cable network and the Warner Bros film studio, holds a 49.9 percent share in CME, which operates TV stations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia.
CME posted a $494.2 million quarterly net loss, up from a $72.4 million loss the previous year, after taking a $522.5 million impairment charge, though gave no further detail.
It was due to hold a conference call at 1400 GMT.
Analysts had on average expected a $95.9 million loss due to goodwill impairments as the profitability of its assets has been lower than expected.
But the wider loss and missed guidance sent shares in the company down 9.2 percent to 94.50 crowns by midday, just off a nearly 12-week low of 91 crowns hit earlier.
"(The results) caused some fears ... about further share issuance and dilution," Komercni Banka analyst Josef Nemy said.
CME has seen sales fall as the global economic downturn curbs advertisers' willingness to spend on reaching consumers in emerging Europe.
CME also reported a 20.7 percent drop in quarterly underlying profit (OIBDA) to $60.7 million. Full-year OIBDA fell 16.2 percent to $125.4 million, below the company's guidance for between $130 million and $140 million.
CME said it was mulling new equity financing, asset sales and the renegotiation of fees with a number of major suppliers.
"Challenging times require bold actions: increasing advertising prices and carriage fees," Chief Executive Adrian Sarbu said in the statement. "We are planning to restructure our operating model, to reduce the cost base and improve our capital structure and liquidity."
(Editing by Louise Heavens and David Holmes)
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