Modern Times Group (MTG) said that sales in the first quarter rose by 8 percent on an organic basis, to a record SEK 4.22 billion, from SEK 3.83 billion a year earlier. MTG said this was the third consecutive quarter with organic sales growth of more than 5 percent, which it attributed to its larger range of relevant products.
Operating income increased by 15 percent to SEK 183 million from SEK 159 million in the same quarter last year, driven by higher profits at both the Nordic and International entertainment businesses. This reflected the sales growth and positive impact of the cost transformation programme begun in 2015.
Net income climbed to SEK 118 million from SEK 50 million and total basic earnings per share reached SEK 1.44, up from SEK 0.55.
MTG said that its investments in both its linear and streamed entertainment services in the Nordic region have driven 11 percent organic sales growth and delivered 22 percent EBIT growth. Viaplay had another "fantastic" quarter, it said, and Viafree is rapidly expanding its content offering. It counted 981,000 subscribers in the Nordic region, down from 1.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
It said its portfolio realignment has accelerated in recent quarters, and it has announced the sale of its shareholdings in the Czech and the Baltic operations. The proceeds will be used to invest in its Nordic entertainment products and the MTGx businesses, and to increase its stake in InnoGames to 51 percent.
MTG claimed that it has leading positions in the Nordic streaming market and is stepping up its investments in original TV drama serials.
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