Bertelsmann, the international media group, has reported a decline in revenues and earnings as well as a €78 million ($106.3 million) loss in the first quarter of 2009.

Revenues from continuing operations totaled €3.5 billion ($4.8 billion) for the first quarter of the fiscal year, down 7.9% from €3.8 billion ($5.2 billion) year on year. The first-quarter operating EBIT was €115 million ($156.8 million), down 54.5% from €253 million ($344.9 million) the previous year, while the group's net income came to a loss of €78 million ($106.3 million), compared with a €35 million ($47.7 million) profit in the same period last year.

"The coming months will continue to be dominated by strict cost discipline at Bertelsmann, to minimize the impact of the [economic] crisis on the group's business," said a company statement, referring to the downturn in consumer and advertising spending. "Positive stimulus comes from the services business, which reports growing demand for outsourcing services. Bertelsmann continues to expect that the global economic crisis will put a strain on the economy and on the company's business prospects."

For the full year, Bertelsmann expects revenues and operating profit to decline. The degree of year on year change will depend on the intensity and duration of the economic downturn, the Gutersloh, Germany-based company said.

Economic debt amounted to €6.72 billion ($9.2 billion) at March 31, 2009, compared to €6.63 billion ($9.04 billion) as of Dec. 31, 2008. Bertelsmann has issued €750 million ($1.02 billion) in bonds since the beginning of the year to further strengthen its liquidity.