Vivendi Universal posts 'spectacular' results

27th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 27 (AFP) - French media group Vivendi Universal announced a 10-percent jump in first quarter operating profit Thursday, beating market expectations and sparking a rise in its share price.

PARIS, May 27 (AFP) - French media group Vivendi Universal announced a 10-percent jump in first quarter operating profit Thursday, beating market expectations and sparking a rise in its share price.

Vivendi reported operating earnings from core activities of EUR 930 million (USD 1.12 billion) against EUR 844 million in the same period last year.Market analysts had foreseen operating profit limited to between EUR 900 million and EUR 917 million.

The news drove up Vivendi Universal's share price 1.99 percent to EUR 20.47 on an overall Paris market that was up 0.61 percent at 3,682.09.

The group also said it had narrowed net losses from EUR 319 million in the first three months of 2003 to EUR 6 million in the first quarter of 2004.

Analysts were predicting a net loss of between five and EUR 25 million.

"Operating results from the different divisions are very positive and the improvement in the net result is simply spectacular, as it approaches zero," said Sylvie Sejournet of Fortis Securities.

The group also managed to reduce its debt to EUR 11.6 billion as of March 31, 2004 from EUR 15.3 billion at the end of first quarter 2003.

It added that once details of its sale of Vivendi Universal Entertainment to the US group General Electric are completed, Vivendi Universal's debt should shrink to about EUR 7 billion.

Vivendi's mobile phone business, SFR Cegetel, reported operating earnings of EUR 552 million, up from EUR 465 million in first quarter 2003, while its cable television subsidiary Canal Plus enjoyed a 64 percent jump in operating profit to EUR 74 million on sales of EUR 923 million.


© AFP

Subject: French news

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