Vivendi rings up blistering third-quarter profits

17th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 17 (AFP) - Media and mobile telephone group Vivendi Universal said on Wednesday that third-quarter profits had risen by nearly six-fold and upgraded its full-year profit outlook owing to a change in tax arrangements.

PARIS, Nov 17 (AFP) - Media and mobile telephone group Vivendi Universal said on Wednesday that third-quarter profits had risen by nearly six-fold and upgraded its full-year profit outlook owing to a change in tax arrangements.

The Universal Music Division reported a sharp improvement in operating performance.

The company, which nearly collapsed two years ago under a debt mountain arising from international expansion, reported a net profit of EUR 776 million (USD 1.007 billion) in the third quarter from EUR 131 million in the equivalent period of last year.

But the figure for the first nine months showed a loss of EUR 1.082 billion or more than twice the loss of EUR 501 million in the same period of last year.

Vivendi shares gained 0.13 percent to EUR 22.41 in early trades on the Paris stock exchange, where the CAC 40 index of leading shares was 0.23 percent higher overall.

The group has obtained authority from the French economy ministry to adopt a "world consolidated profit" accounting system resulting in a tax saving of EUR 750 million on September 30, of which EUR 362 million will appear in the 2004 accounts.

This caused Vivendi to revise upwards its forecast for adjusted net profit for 2004 to EUR 1.2 billion from about 1 billion forecast at the beginning of September.

On the adjusted tax basis, net profit in the third quarter was EUR 586 million from 206 million in the same period of last year. Vivendi said that this reflected mainly changes in the tax regime and a fall in the cost of finance.

However, operating profit fell to EUR 866 million from 896 million owing to divestment of Vivendi Universal Entertainment.

In the third quarter the group achieved sales of EUR 4.7 billion, a fall of 20.3 percent from the equivalent figure last year, but rose by 6.0 percent on a comparable asset base.

Sales so far this year amounted to EUR 16.09 billion from EUR 18.3 billion in the same period of last year.

The mobile telephone operation SFT-Cegetel increased third-quarter operating profit by 15.4 percent to EUR 613 million. In the first nine months, operating profit rose by 18.7 percent to EUR 1.79 billion.

Moroccan subsidiary Maroc Telecom raised operating profit to EUR 196 million from 174 million and the nine-month figure rose to EUR 514 million from 457 million.

The pay television group Canal Plus raised operating profit by 27.8 percent to EUR 96 million from 133 million but the nine-month figure fell by 19.8 percent to EUR 303 million.

Operating profit at Universal Music surged to EUR 29 million in the third quarter from 4 million in the same period of last year. In the first nine months operating profit was EUR 44 million from a loss of 38 million.

Net debt was also slashed to EUR 5.5 billion on September 30 from 12.8 billion 12 months earlier.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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