CME Mulls Sale of Bulgarian Assets Pro BG, Ring TV

Business | December 18, 2009, Friday // 13:48|  views

US company Central European Media Enterprises has voiced plans to merge with any of the competitors on the Bulgarian market or sell its assets here.

“The situation in Bulgaria is that there are three main players on the market, and our conviction is that the market can handle only two. Therefore we are ready to merge with any of our competitors on fair conditions or alternatively sell our business there,” Petr Dvorak, general director of the leading Czech broadcaster TV Nova said in an interview to the Czech Business Weekly, published on the site of CME.

In Bulgaria, the media group CME controls Ring TV and TV2 channels. The latter was recently renamed Pro BG.

Speaking to CBW, Petr Dvorak gave a generally upbeat assessment of the prospects for CME, which owns commercial TV operations in seven Central and East European countries.

He pointed out that the results of the whole holding have been hurt primarily by ailing divisions from Ukraine and Bulgaria, which together lost USD 70 M, despite significant investments.

Asked why the company's expectations for the Ukraine business to break even in 2012 and the Bulgarian in 2013 have failed, Dvorak refused to answer, saying details of the strategy would help competitors to derail their plans.

He forecast modest recovery of the TV ad market in the first part of the year and slight growth in the second half of 2010. The main recovery is expected to come in 2011 and 2012.

Furthermore, Dvorak predicted that internet will “always be a single digit contributor” to CME’s future revenues”, while content will account for “20-30% in 3-5 years”.

Central European Media Enterprises, which is owned by the US tycoon Ronald Launder, who also owns the cosmetics giant Estee Lauder, purchased at the end of July last year 80% of two Bulgarian cable TV channels - TV2 and Ring TV - for the sum of USD 172 M.

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Tags: CME, Pro BG, Ring TV, TV2


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