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TMCNet:  DGAP-News: Highlight Group with significant increase in sales and earnings (english)

[August 13, 2014]

DGAP-News: Highlight Group with significant increase in sales and earnings (english)

(dpa-AFX International Compact Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Highlight Group with significant increase in sales and earnings DGAP-News: Highlight Communications AG / Key word(s): Half Year Results Highlight Group with significant increase in sales and earnings 13.08.2014 / 17:40 --------------------------------------------------------------------- - Consolidated sales rise by 38.3% to CHF 216.3 million - Consolidated net profit for the period improves by 34.1% to CHF 5.9 million - Earnings per share increases from CHF 0.09 to CHF 0.13 - Net debt reduced by CHF 39.5 million to CHF 68.2 million - Forecast confirmed for fiscal year 2014 In the first six months of the current fiscal year, the Highlight Group generated sales and earnings well in excess of the comparative figures for the first half of 2013.

Group development in the first half of 2014 - Consolidated sales increased by 38.3% year-on-year, from CHF 156.4 million to CHF 216.3 million. The increase is essentially attributable to the Film segment.

- Consolidated operating expenses rose by CHF 28.9 million or 13.8% to CHF 238.8 million, after CHF 209.9 million in the first half of 2013.

This was due mainly to an increase in amortization on film assets in connection with film exploitation.

- Consolidated net profit for the period increased by 34.1% to CHF 5.9 million (previous year's period: CHF 4.4 million), of which CHF 5.6 million was attributable to Highlight shareholders (previous year's period: CHF 4.2 million). Earnings per share therefore rose by 44.4%, from CHF 0.09 to CHF 0.13.

- Consolidated equity (including non-controlling interests) at CHF 97.9 million was down CHF 9.3 million as against the end of 2013 (CHF 107.2 million). This decrease was due in particular to dividend payments (CHF 8.9 million), losses from the fair value measurement of financial assets (CHF 4.2 million) and the remeasurement of the pension obligation (CHF 1.3 million).

- The equity ratio rose from 24.2% (December 31, 2013) to 26.7% (June 30, 2014).

- Net debt has been reduced by CHF 39.5 million to CHF 68.2 million (December 31, 2013: CHF 107.7 million) in the first half of 2014.

Development of the operating segments in the first half of 2014 - In the Film segment, the success story of the Constantin Film comedy "Fack ju Göhte" continued in home entertainment exploitation. DVD and Blu-ray sales of the title had reached around 900,000 units in German-speaking regions by the end of July, while more than 600,000 paid transactions in electronic sell-through meant that it was more successful in digital marketing than any previous production. In addition, the Constantin Film Group posted good results in theatrical distribution. Constantin Film achieved an audience market share of 7.8% and a market share of 7.2% in terms of revenues in the first six months of this year.

In the first half of 2014, external sales of the segment increased to CHF 190.0 million - up 45.4% on the first six months of the previous year (CHF 130.7 million). Segment earnings more than doubled year-on-year from CHF 1.6 million in the first half of 2013 to CHF 3.8 million.

- In the Sports- and Event-Marketing segment, following the successful contracts in the period from January to March, the TEAM Group secured further major deals in the marketing process for the commercial rights of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League (for the 2015/16 to 2017/18 seasons respectively) in the second quarter.

The segment's external sales increased slightly by 3.3% to CHF 24.8 million in the first six months of the current fiscal year (previous year's period: CHF 24.0 million). Segment earnings improved by 15.9%, from CHF 8.8 million to CHF 10.2 million.

- In the Other Business Activities segment, Highlight Event & Entertainment AG managed the successful marketing of the Eurovision Song Contest in Denmark, the New Year's Day Concert in Vienna and the Summer Night Concert in Schönbrunn of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the first half of 2014.

External sales in this segment were down slightly year-on-year at CHF 1.5 million (previous year's period: CHF 1.6 million). Expenses were reduced by CHF 0.3 million to CHF 3.2 million (previous year's period: CHF 3.5 million), meaning that the segment loss was unchanged as against the first half of 2013 at CHF 1.4 million. This loss was due to the development activities in the area of online/social gaming.

Targets for fiscal year 2014 In theatrical distribution, we are planning to release another seven Constantin Film movies in German theaters in the second half of 2014. The titles scheduled for release in the third quarter are the continuation of the successful dance franchise "Step Up: All In (3D)", the DreamWorks licensed title "The Hundred-Foot Journey" and the adaptation of Charlotte Roche's best-selling novel "Schossgebete".

In the current fiscal year, the home entertainment business area will continue to benefit from the home cinema version of the blockbuster "Fack ju Göhte". Further significant sales are expected from the own production "Pompeii" as well as the licensed title "Need for Speed" and the young people's film "The Famous Five 3".

Based on the positive operating outlook, the Highlight Group is continuing to forecast consolidated sales of between CHF 380 million and CHF 410 million and a consolidated net profit attributable to shareholders of between CHF 9 million and CHF 11 million in 2014 as a whole.

The German interim report as of June 30, 2014 will be available to download at starting from today, and the English version from August 20, 2014.

--------------------------------------------------------------------- 13.08.2014 Dissemination of a Corporate News, transmitted by DGAP - a service of EQS Group AG.

The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

The DGAP Distribution Services include Regulatory Announcements, Financial/Corporate News and Press Releases.

Media archive at and --------------------------------------------------------------------- Language: English Company: Highlight Communications AG Netzibodenstrasse 23b 4133 Pratteln Switzerland Phone: +41 61 816 96 96 Fax: +41 61 816 67 67 E-mail: Internet: ISIN: CH0006539198 WKN: 920299 Listed: Regulierter Markt in Frankfurt (Prime Standard); Freiverkehr in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover, München, Stuttgart End of News DGAP News-Service --------------------------------------------------------------------- 282152 13.08.2014 Copyright dpa-AFX.

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