Cost-cutting and strong performance from music publishing helped BMG to increased earnings in 2004, Bertelsmann said today (March 17).

Cost-cutting and strong performance from music publishing helped BMG to increased earnings in 2004, Bertelsmann said today (March 17). The report includes results of BMG's recorded music business from January to July 2004 (when the company merged with Sony Music) and half of Sony BMG's results from August through to December.

BMG's revenues slipped to €2.5 billion ($3.3 billion) in 2004 from €2.7 billion ($3.6 billion) the previous year. However, earnings before interest and taxes rose to €162 million ($217 million) from €54 million ($72 million).

Bertelsmann says BMG Music Publishing had its most successful fiscal year ever, delivering double-digit returns on sales. Music publishing accounted for 14.7% of BMG's revenues.

Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, Sony BMG's non-executive chairman of the board, tells Billboard.biz that the integration of BMG and Sony Music has advanced beyond expectations.

"At the moment we are much further ahead than I had thought. In fact, we have already completed more than 70% of the integration process," Schmidt-Holtz says. "All in all, I am very satisfied with the progress being made and, judging by our performance to date, I am certain that the joint venture will operate a good deal more profitably."