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MTG Says Profit Rises After Year-Earlier Writedown

Modern Times Group AB (MTGB), Sweden's largest publicly traded media company, said fourth-quarter profit rose 40 percent from a year earlier, when it wrote down the value of acquisitions and film assets.

Net income climbed to 431 million kronor ($67.5 million) from 308 million kronor a year earlier, the Stockholm-based company said today in a statement. Sales advanced 12 percent to 3.27 billion kronor.

Modern Times, which has expanded in the Czech Republic, Russia and Slovenia, is exploring additional purchases in Eastern Europe and Africa. The company raised its financial targets in June and forecast revenue will be 20 billion kronor in 2011.

``The fourth quarter and full year results set new group records -- both in terms of revenue and profitability,'' Chief Executive Officer Hans-Holger Albrecht said in the statement.

Analysts had predicted fourth-quarter earnings of 351 million kronor, the average of nine estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales were anticipated to be 3.09 billion kronor.

The board will propose an ordinary dividend of 5 kronor a share and an extraordinary dividend of 10 kronor a share for 2007, Modern Times said.

The company took a charge of 79.1 million kronor in the year-earlier period, including a writedown of intangible assets after some titles of the Sonet feature film production house failed to meet expectations. The writedown also related to goodwill in the Engine music and video business.

Modern Times shares rose as much as 28 kronor, or 7.3 percent, to 410 kronor and traded at 402.5 kronor as of 1:38 p.m. in Stockholm.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Fredriksson in Stockholm at mfredriksson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lars Klemming at lklemming@bloomberg.net

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