Prisa reports surge in first half profit

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Prisa, owner of El Pais newspaper and Spain's biggest media company, on Wednesday reported a 123.6-percent surge in first-half profit from the equivalent figure last year on asset sales.

Prisa, which has a 15-percent stake in the French daily Le Monde, said net earnings came to 60.9 million euros (78 million dollars).

Sales in the period fell 6.0 percent to 1.577 billion euros, although advertising revenue rose 9.8 percent.

The company in the six months to June sold a 25 percent interest in publisher Santillana and a 22 percent stake in satellite company Digital+ to Telecinio, a Spanish unit of Italian television group Mediaset.

Prisa has also undertaken a restructuring of its bank debt and has reached an agreement on opening its capital to the US group Liberty, held by investment and retirement funds.

The deal with Liberty must now be approved by Prisa shareholders. The transaction would reduce the interest held by the family of Prisa founder Jesus de Polanco from 70 percent to about a third.

Prisa shares were showing a gain of 2.27 percent to 2.025 euros on an overall stronger Madrid market.

© 2010 AFP

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