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Bertelsmann says it is well prepared to emerge from coronavirus crisis

Pencils with the logo of German media group Bertelsmann CEO are seen at the annual news conference Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) - German publishing group Bertelsmann <BTGGg.F> said on Tuesday it was well prepared to "emerge safely" from the coronavirus pandemic thanks to its broadly diversified interests that span television, books and music publishing.

Bertelsmann, which started out in 1835 as a Bible publisher and remains privately controlled, reported a slight increase in 2019 revenues to 18 billion euros (16.71 billion pounds).

Digital businesses contributed more than half of overall revenues for the first time, while expansion projects achieved growth of 7% and accounted for 36% of the business, the company said.

"Bertelsmann is well prepared financially. We are profitable, have high liquidity, a comfortable equity ratio, and ratings continue unchanged in the investment-grade category," CEO Thomas Rabe said in a statement.

"The broad setup of our businesses makes us less susceptible to economic fluctuations and allows us to continue investing in our future without compromising the substance of our business," added Rabe.

Listed TV unit RTL <RRTL.DE>, also headed by Rabe, has said it was seeing first cancellations of advertising bookings and delays to productions due to coronavirus, but vowed to press on with investments in its streaming services.

Core profits at Bertelsmann rose to 2.9 billion euros from 2.6 billion in 2019, lifted by services subsidiary Arvato and the Bertelsmann Education Group.



(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Michelle Martin)