Vivendi shares climb on strong 2004 results

2nd February 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 2 (AFP) - Shares in Vivendi Universal surged higher Wednesday as investors welcomed the French media conglomerate's strong 2004 full-year results and year-end net debt, dealers said.

PARIS, Feb 2 (AFP) - Shares in Vivendi Universal surged higher Wednesday as investors welcomed the French media conglomerate's strong 2004 full-year results and year-end net debt, dealers said.

Vivendi shares were up 1.39 percent at EUR 24.73 in midday Paris trading, outperforming the modest gain on the CAC-40 index of 8.43 points to 3,947.61.

The group reported late Tuesday that fourth-quarter sales had slipped 26 percent to EUR 5.334 billion (EUR 6.971 billion) from EUR 7.22 billion a year earlier, hit by currency fluctuations and disposals.

But the sales were up five percent on a comparable basis and up seven percent at constant currencies, it noted.

Vivendi said it saw a return to sales growth at Universal Music Group, Canal Plus and Vivendi Universal Games in the fourth quarter and continued growth at telecoms SFR Cegetel and Maroc Telecom.

Vivendi said net debt at December 31, 2004 was about EUR 3.1 billion.

Exane BNP Paribas reiterated its 'outperform' rating on the stock and called the sales figures "solid," as it raised its earnings per share forecasts by four percent for 2004 and eight percent for 2005.

The broker raised its target share price to EUR 27 from EUR 26.

It also argued that the fall in net debt should give the group "some leeway to return cash to shareholders."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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