ProSieben To Keep Dividend Flat, Gives No Outlook

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat1 (PSMG_p.DE) refrained from giving an outlook for 2010 due to the continued lack of market visibility and said it plans to keep its dividend flat

“Despite a fourth quarter that exceeded expectations, any comments on the current fiscal years would be based on too much uncertainty,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The broadcaster expects economic conditions to improve slightly over 2009 but said the horizon remained unclear.

Broadcasters across Europe suffered from a slump in TV advertising last year and while the market is expected to improve, it is not expected to return to previous levels.

To counter that effect, ProSieben will continue to reduce costs this year, it said.

ProSieben, which last month reported a 3.3 percent rise in its 2009 core profit, said it had managed to cut costs last year by 221 million euros ($302 million).

The Munich-based company said it plans to pay an unchanged 2009 dividend of 0.02 euros per preferred share and no dividend for common shares.

ProSieben, which competes with Bertelsmann-owned RTL Group, is majority owned by KKR and Permira.

One of its key priorities was cutting net debt, which it incurred after buying SBS Broadcasting in 2007 for 3.3 billion euros to create a stronger rival to Bertelsmann owned RTL Group.

(Reporting by Nicola Leske)