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The first half of the year also saw strong operating free cash flow from operations. Debt wasfurther reduced: at the reporting date of June 30, 2010, net financial debt was €2.78 billion(December 31, 2009: €2.79 billion). Bertelsmann has significantly reduced its debt by more than€800 million in the past twelve months. At 2.8, the Leverage Factor remains below the mark of3.0. In relation to net financial debt, the factor was 1.2.“Bertelsmann is financially solid. After the measures taken during the previous year, there wasno need for adjustments to the first-half balance sheet,” explained Bertelsmann’s CFO ThomasRabe. “We are raising our forecast for the full year. Instead of the stable revenue and operatingEBIT performance predicted at the Annual Press Conference in March, we now expect to see ayear-on-year increase in both, and a Return on Sales of around 10 percent. We are increasingthe predicted Group result corridor of between €400 and €500 million to over € 500 million.Nonetheless, visibility for the important fourth quarter still remains low in the advertisingmarkets.”On June 30, 2010, Bertelsmann had 100,151 employees worldwide (December 31, 2009:102,704).
Corporate divisions:RTL Group
RTL Group’s operating EBIT and return on sales reach record levels for a first half year
All RTL Group profit centers report higher earnings
RTL Group’s online platforms generate over 715 million video downloads in six months – an increase of 50 percent
In the first half of 2010, Europe’s leading entertainment network benefited from powerful growthin the TV advertising markets in Western Europe and comprehensive cost-cutting measuresintroduced in the previous year. Both revenues and operating EBIT increased significantly. Allunits of RTL Group contributed to the increase in earnings, but in particular Mediengruppe RTLDeutschland, which outperformed the overall market, the French Groupe M6 and RTLNederland. RTL Group maintained its leading positions in audience markets in key countries,even though almost all of the World Cup matches with the highest ratings were broadcast bycompetitors. The German family of channels achieved a record 34.8 percent audience share inthe main target group. In France the digital free TV channel W9 continued its strong growth, andthe main channel M6 also significantly increased its revenues and operating EBIT in the firsthalf year. Fremantle Media, the production arm of RTL Group, also saw higher revenues andoperating EBIT, thanks to many successful international formats.