Flush from their successes on Spain's explosive stock market, La Bolsa, telecommunications conglom Telefonica and its audiovisual rival, the Prisa Group-owned Sogecable, both reported top-notch year-end results for 1999.
The strong performance of these two giants on La Bolsa demonstrates the need in Spain for a planned "New Market" index listing for high-growth companies. The "New Market" - which will cater to media and technology holdings - is expected to launch in the next several weeks.
Telefonica posted net profits of pts300.3m ($1.88bn), 38% higher than 1998 results. Filial Telefonica Media posted earnings for holding Antena 3 Television of pts21,000m ($131m), balancing holding Via Digital's unreported losses. Telefonica Media, which is also 70% owner of Madrid-based production house Lolafilms, is expected to float on the stock exchange in the next few months.
Sogecable posted net operating profits of pts14.9m ($93m), up 135% over the previous year. While the firm incurred losses in 1999 of pts2.3m ($14.4m) -largely chalked up to lingering debt from the 1997 launch of digital satellite platform Canal Satelite Digital (CSD) - the figures reflect a 36.5% reduction over losses the previous year. CSD's losses for 1999 were reduced by 60% over 1998. Sogecable houses CSD alongside pay outlet Canal Plus, rights and acquisitions arm Sogepaq, production outfit Sogetel, and a share in distributor Warner Sogefilms and exhibitor Warner Lusomundo.