Vivendi reports weaker Q1 adjusted profit

Confirms full-year strong EBITA growth outlook

NEW YORK -- Media and telecom conglomerate Vivendi reported a weaker first-quarter adjusted profit due to higher interest costs and a smaller profit contribution from its 20% stake in NBC Universal.

But revenue and earnings before interest and other items rose double-digits driven by strong results at video game arm Activision Blizzard and pay TV unit Canal+ Group.

The company on Thursday reported an adjusted profit of €649 million ($884 million), down 6.9%.

First-quarter earnings before interest, taxes and amortization rose 15.8%, or 13.8% on a constant currency basis, to €1.4 billion ($1.9 billion). Revenue of €6.5 billion ($8.85 billion) meant a 23.7% jump, or 22.1% when assuming constant currencies.

The company reiterated its projection of strong EBITA growth for the full year 2009.

Activision reported better-than-expected results for the latest quarter thanks to strong demand for the “Guitar Hero” and “Call of Duty” franchises. EBITA and revenue tripled on a constant currency basis to €178 million and €731 million, respectively.

Universal Music Group’s first-quarter EBITA and revenue were virtually unchanged at €110 million and €1.03 billion, respectively. But on a constant currency basis, they were down 6.2% and 3.2%, respectively. Lower North American sales and  a year-ago one-time benefit accounted for the declines.

Canal+ first-quarter EBITA rose 51.3% on a constant cuyrrency basis to €254 million as as revenue grew 1.8% to €1.12 billion.TPS merger synergies boosted the bottom line.

Vivendi’s share of profit earned by NBC Universal, which is majority-owned by General Electric, amounted to €29 million in the first quarter, down from €53 million in the year-ago period. It cited “the decline of NBC Universal’s performance” as the reason.
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