Central European Media Shares Plunged: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of central- and eastern-European broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises (Nasdaq: CETV  ) were getting a fuzzy reception from investors today, falling as much as 21% in intraday trading after the company reported fourth-quarter results.

So what: In case you haven't heard, it's been tough going in Europe. As such, it should be expected that companies that operate in that region are going to face some obstacles. Even so, investors certainly seemed blindsided by the $77 million loss from CME, a loss that was primarily driven by a hefty $69 million impairment charge.

The company's top line looked (relatively) better -- 8% YOY growth pushed it up to $277 million. But even that was a bit short of analysts' estimates.

Now what: A big, unexpected loss like that can be shocking, but if we consider CME's core operating performance, it wasn't nearly as bad as the loss suggests. Operating income before depreciation and amortization -- OIBDA, a cash-flow-like measure -- increased 25% from the prior year. And management seems optimistic about the road ahead, saying that the company is on "a strong path for growth." Of course, management had better be optimistic -- CME is dancing on a razor's edge, thanks to its heavily levered balance sheet.

Want to keep up to date on Central European Media Enterprises? Add it to your Watchlist.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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