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'Mummy Returns' Helps Vivendi Raise Revenues 14%

23 Jul, 2001 By: Hive News

French media company Vivendi Universal reported strong gains in revenues and pretax profits in a preliminary earnings report Monday, according to the Associated Press, putting it on track to meet the financial goals it promised investors.

Vivendi reported a 57% rise in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization to 1.31 billion euros ($1.14 billion) compared to $724 billion in the same period a year ago, powered largely by gains in its Hollywood operations and in telecommunications.

Vivendi Universal reported its year-ago figures as if the company had already been merged at the time. Vivendi Universal was formed in a merger last year between Seagram Co. of Canada and Vivendi, a media and water utility conglomerate.

Revenues rose 14% to $5.75 billion from $5.05 billion.

The earnings report was preliminary and did not include net figures, which will be reported in late September.

Vivendi Universal's telecom, television and film units powered the increase, according to AP. Profit at its telecom unit rose 70% as its mobile phone subsidiary SFR added 640,000 new customers in the second quarter, bringing its total to 11.2 million.

"There is clear momentum at Vivendi Universal," chairman Jean-Marie Messier said in a conference call with analysts and reporters. "Our yearly targets... are not only achievable, but they really look less and less aggressive."

Vivendi Universal has set targets of 10% revenue growth and 35% EBITDA growth per year.

"Those are good, even excellent results," Aurelien Daudet, a media analyst at Paris brokerage Global Equities, told the AP. "Vivendi is doing better than AOL Time Warner at delivering revenue growth."

Profits at its film and TV unit nearly tripled. The company cited large grosses from Universal's The Mummy Returns as a major factor in its improved earnings. International ticket sales for the movie have topped the $400 million mark.

In music, pretax earnings rose 17% on the strength of its U.S. and Japanese markets.

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