May 13, 2020 / 7:00 AM / 23 days ago

Italy's Mediaset first-quarter operating profit falls 47% as virus hits revenue

FILE PHOTO: The Mediaset tower is seen at in Cologno Monzese, near Milan, Italy, April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Mediaset’s (MS.MI) operating profit fell 47% in the first quarter hurt by a drop in advertising revenue as the market plummeted in March due to the coronavirus outbreak, Italy’s top commercial broadcaster said on Wednesday.

Mediaset has to cope with coronavirus-hit companies postponing or scrapping advertising spending after the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus after the outbreak first emerged in February.

The Milan-based group, controlled by the family of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, reported a first-quarter operating profit on a consolidated basis of 41.6 million euros ($45.12 million) compared with 78.5 million the previous year.

Domestic advertising revenues fell to 452.4 million euros from 492.1 million euros a year ago.

Mediaset said it could not provide an outlook for the year due to the health emergency. It said it had put in place measures to safeguard its finances from a fall in the second quarter due to the lockdown measures and that it will pursue with its European growth strategy.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina; editing by Agnieszka Flak

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