A restructuring cost of €30 million ($38.5 million) related with the merger of BMG with Sony Music was a blemish in Bertelsmann's otherwise good business performance for the first quarter of 20

A restructuring cost of €30 million ($38.5 million) related with the merger of BMG with Sony Music was a blemish in Bertelsmann's otherwise good business performance for the first quarter of 2005.

For the three months to March 31, the Gütersloh-based media giant posted a profit of €33 million ($42.4 million) up from €31 million ($39 million) in the same period last year.

Total revenue during the period rose slightly to €3.8 billion ($4.9 billion), the company said yesterday (May 3).

Sources within Bertelsmann say Sony and BMG intend to complete all necessary integration tasks this year. Bertelsmann insiders expect further costs in the eight-digit region before the final completion of the merger.

Operating earnings before interest, taxes and special items rose to €159 million ($204 million) vs. €111 million ($143 million) thanks in part to the full consolidation of French commercial channel M6 into Bertelsmann's European broadcasting division, RTL Group. The transaction contributed €25 million ($32.1 million) in revenue for Bertelsmann.

Taking into account the negative effect of the weak dollar on its U.S. activities, Bertelsmann said year-on-year sales would have improved by 1.5%.

"Bertelsmann continues to expect an increase in its revenue and results for the full year," the company said in a statement.

During the period, group debt rose slightly to €2.9 billion ($3.7 billion) because of seasonal effects, the company said.