Bertelsmann records improved third-quarter profits

<p>Bertelsmann has said that its &quot;strict cost discipline&quot; and a &quot;2+5 program&quot; have helped improve operating profits in its third quarter despite a decline in sales.</p><p>Revenues in the period to end September declined by 4.5% to &euro;3.6bn, compared with &euro;3.8bn, with operating profits up by 14% to &euro;284m, compared with &euro;249m. Its profit margin improved from 6.6% to 7.9%. The group did not break out the results further.<br /><br />Hartmut Ostrowski, chairman &amp;&nbsp; chief executive of Bertelsmann, said: &quot;Our third-quarter business performance was gratifying, particularly in the context of the economic crisis, to which Bertelsmann is responding resolutely. We are making good progress with the implementation of our &#39;2+5&#39; program, as the increase in our result shows. We&rsquo;re on the right path.&quot; The 2+5 program is based on two guidelines: a decentralised approach and delegation of responsibility, as well as &quot;continuity and value creation&quot;. Its &quot;cost and efficiency program&quot; has so far generated savings of more than&nbsp; &euro;900m.</p><p>In the nine months of the year to date, group revenues from continued operations came to &euro;10.8bn, compared with &euro;11.5bn, reflecting a 6.6% organic decline in revenues. Operating earnings before interest and taxation amounted to &euro;759m, compared with &euro;934m.</p>