Vivendi Second-Quarter Earnings Rise 12% on Video Game Strength

Universal Music's earnings before interest, taxes and amortization were up 7.7 percent assuming constant currencies before restructuring charges.

NEW YORK - French media, video game and telecom group Vivendi on Wednesday reported a 12 percent gain in its second-quarter profit driven by its Activision Blizzard gaming arm.

Quarterly profit excluding one-time items amounted to 884 million euros ($1.3 billion), exceeding analysts' expectations. Earnings before interest, taxes and amortization rose 0.3 percent, or 3.2 percent when assuming constant currencies, to 1.66 billion euros.

Vivendi's second-quarter revenue climbed 0.2 percent, or 2.2 percent at constant currencies, to 7.01 billion euros.

At Activision Blizzard division, which publishes the Call of Duty video game franchise, second-quarter revenue rose 5 percent, or 18.5 percent on a constant currency basis, to 796 million euros as earnings before interest, taxes and amortization jumped 36.2 percent, or 53.8 percent assuming constant currencies, to 331 million euros.

Universal Music Group's quarterly EBITA of 86 million was down 5.5 percent, or 3.5 percent on a constant currency basis, as revenue declined 2.9 percent, or rose slightly assuming constant currencies, to 982 million euros. Restructuring charges also affected the bottom line, which would have otherwise been up 7.7 percent in the quarter on a constant currency basis. Recorded music bestsellers in the first half of 2011 included new releases from Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez.

Pay TV arm Canal+ Group posted an earnings decline of around 10 percent to 230 million euros despite a 1.2 percent revenue gain to 1.2 billion euros.
Vivendi's first-half adjusted net income rose 20.2 percent to 1.83 billion euros ($4.87 billion) on a 1.9 percent revenue gain to 14.25 billion euros.

Vivendi also reiterated its full-year earnings forecast for adjusted net income of above 3 billion euros.

"Our group is growing by investing in networks, platforms and content," said CEO Jean-Bernard Levy. "Despite the turbulent economic and financial environment, our operational indicators are increasing."


Twitter: @georgszalai