May 15-31, 2004 Edition

Bertelsmann Posts

Increased Earnings

For First Quarter

FRANKFURT/05/05/04—Bertelsmann, the fourth largest media company in the world, posted earnings of 111 million euros ($134 million) for the first quarter of 2004, reversing year-ago losses of 75 million euros. The BMG music segment of the business clearly helped the company reestablish profitability, with hit artists such as R’n’B star Usher, singer Dido and rappers Outkast all selling well.

BMG posted the biggest gain over last year’s losses in that division of 117 million euros. Company-wide, Bertelsmann’s net profit was 31 million euros, up from a loss of 397 million a year ago.

Bertelsmann cautiously projects an increase in operating earnings for 2004 over last year’s 1.1 billion euros, citing advertising sales for television and magazine revenues as still hard to predict.

The company is looking for continued improvement for the full fiscal year despite on-going uncertainty about an economic recovery.

Bertelsmann’s largest division, television broadcaster RTL Group, generates about 40 percent of Bertelsmann’s earnings, and its magazine unit, Gruner & Jahr accounts for about 20 percent.

Overall, Bertelsmann’s sales declined four percent to 3.79 billion euros in the quarter. The company, which includes books, printing and media services, said sales in the U.S. suffered from a weak dollar, contributing to the downturn.