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Italy's MFE shares rise after optimistic outlook raises dividend hopes

By Reuters

MILAN – Shares in MFE-Mediaforeurope rose sharply on Thursday after Italy’s biggest private broadcaster gave an optimistic outlook on 2022 during a roadshow with analysts, prompting speculation of another dividend payout this year.

In a meeting with analysts on Wednesday, the company controlled by the family of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said advertising sales in the last quarter of last year were higher compared to the same period a year ago, according to a note by Intesa Sanpaolo.

Management also showed confidence for 2022, citing a new advertising system and expected contribution from screening Italian Cup soccer, Intesa said.

MFE, previously known as Mediaset, did not see any material impact from cost inflation so far and reiterated its expectation of costs remaining flat this year, according to Intesa.

The company also confirmed its commitment to international consolidation, Intesa added. It has built up a stake in German broadcast group ProSiebenSat.1.

MFE seems to have been resilient so far to both the Omicron wave and cost inflation, which supports our FY22 estimates and we think could prompt the company to distribute a dividend also this year after the extraordinary dividend paid last year,” the broker said.

MFE declined to comment.

By 1146 GMT, MFE’s A and B shares were up 8.9% and 5.6%, respectively, outperforming a 0.5% rise in Milan’s All-Share index.