Highlight Group concludes fiscal year 2010 with record earnings

Pratteln, (PresseBox) - In spite of a difficult market environment at times, the Highlight Group concluded fiscal year 2010 with highly positive results.

- Consolidated sales of CHF 434.6 million were at the upper end of the planning corridor of CHF 420 to CHF 440 million.
- Consolidated net profit after taxes increased to a new record of CHF 42.8 million, up 27% year-on-year.
- Earnings per share rose to CHF 0.78 or EUR 0.57, significantly exceeding the target of EUR 0.42 to EUR 0.44.

Due to the marketing success of the sale of TV and sponsoring rights for the current three-year periods of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, sales in the Sports- and Event-Marketing segment rose by 8.0%. Segment earnings improved by 11.1% to CHF 41.1 million.

As a result of the lower income from TV service production, the Film segment's sales decreased by 21.4% to CHF 333.7 million year-on-year (CHF 424.5 million). Segment earnings amounted to CHF 14.2 million in the year under review.

As of December 31, 2010, the Highlight Group had cash and cash equivalents of CHF 166.0 million, a reduction CHF 35.1 million as against the end of 2009 (CHF 201.1 million). Parallel to this, financial liabilities decreased by CHF 66.5 million to CHF 251.4 million (December 31, 2009: CHF 317.9 million). As a result of this development, net debt was reduced significantly from CHF 116.8 million to CHF 85.4 million.

Consolidated equity (including non-controlling interests) declined by CHF 38.2 million from CHF 110.8 million as of the end of the previous year to CHF 72.6 million. The outcome of this equity is a calculated equity ratio of 13.8% as against 17.5% as of December 31, 2009. The reduction primarily results from the acquisition of the 20% interest in Team Holding AG, which took place in mid-year and was reported in equity.

Based on nearly stable exchange rates (CHF/EUR), the Highlight Group expects consolidated sales in a range of between CHF 430 million and CHF 450 million for the current fiscal year. In terms of earnings per share, the company assumes to achieve results in a corridor of between EUR 0.52 and EUR 0.54.

In response to the company's favorable operating performance in fiscal year 2010, the Board of Directors of Highlight Communications AG will propose a dividend as capital repayment of CHF 0.17 per dividend-entitled share for approval by the shareholders at the Annual General Meeting. Assuming that the proposal is accepted by the Annual General Meeting, the dividend will be paid from June 1, 2011.

The Annual General Meeting for fiscal year 2010 will take place on May 27, 2011 at the Hilton Hotel in Basel.

The German annual report for 2010 is available for downloading from the company's website www.highlight-communications.ch from tonight. The English version will be available as of March 30, 2011.

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