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CTC Media Seeks Acquisitions While Mulling Dividend Increase

CTC Media Inc., the Russian company that owns the CTC television channel, is seeking to acquire TV production companies in Russia and a channel or a TV license in Ukraine, its chief executive officer said.

“We would be interested in either acquiring a TV production company or entering into some kind of collaboration agreement to secure the pipeline of content,” Boris Podolsky said in an interview at a conference organized by Morgan Stanley in Barcelona today. “We’re talking with different companies in Ukraine to acquire either a television channel for easily hundreds of millions of dollars or a license for a few million dollars.”

Shares fell 0.5 percent to $8.20 at 11:36 a.m. in New York, headed for the lowest close since Sept. 4.

CTC Media’s board will probably discuss dividends at its December meeting as the company’s cash pile has increased due to the completion of investments, Podolsky said. The payout fell to 52 percent of net income this year from a previous 90 percent, he said.

CTC Media, based in Moscow, “will have to put on hold our plans to buy free-to-air channels in Russia at least for a little while” because of issues related to the country’s digitalization process, according to Podolsky. “We need to understand how this whole thing will play out.”

The Nasdaq-listed company’s margin for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization is 30 percent and it expects to “sustain those margins and if possible to increase them,” Podolsky said.

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