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Business

Bertelsmann Q3 Profit Surges

Bertelsmann, the world's fifth-biggest media group, said Tuesday its third-quarter net profit before minority interests had more than quadrupled to €91 million ($117 million) from 20 million a year earlier. The leap was explained by a change in accounting methods that took place on January 1, the German group said. Third quarter sales were flat at €3.8 billion. Earnings before interest and tax rose by 14.3 percent to €216 million from €189 million in the third quarter of 2003, the group said. "Business has been very gratifying in the year to date," said chief financial officer Siegfried Luther. "We look to the fourth quarter with confidence and continue to expect an improved operating result and slight organic revenue growth for the year 2004 despite a restrained economy." Operating profit in the first nine months of the year rose to €812 million from €375 million in the same period a year earlier, while nine-month sales rose 1.9 percent to €12 billion, Bertelsmann said. Special effects from the Sony BMG Music Entertainment joint venture, which has been in existence since August 1, are not yet included in the third quarter results, it added. (AFP)