Financial Reports - In Brief

17 November 2003

• UK: BSkyB (fiscal Q1)
    Profits rose sharply at the pay-TV giant, 35.4% owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, with profit before interest, tax and one-off items almost doubled to £151 million ($255.22m; €216.93m) in the three months to September 30.
    Turnover was up 17% year-on-year to £850m. Churn -- the percentage of lost subscribers -- was 9.6%, the same as a year ago and the fifth consecutive quarter in which churn has remained below 10%.
    Average revenue per subscriber rose £18 to £366, as the company continues to move further into the black following its five-year investment in Sky Digital set-top boxes.

• UK: Capital Radio (full year)
    Underlying pre-tax profits for the year to September 30 decreased to £22.8 million ($38.54m; €32.76m) from £27.8m in 2002. Pre-tax profits were down from £14.6m to £13.3m.
    Sales fell 4% to £115m for the year. Looking ahead, the company said booking levels were providing greater visibility for December, indicating that the month would be in positive territory.
    The company said it would invest £1m in its commercial operations to improve revenue performance.

• Global: Ipsos Group (calendar Q1-3)
    The Paris-headquartered global research agency significantly improved its performance in the first nine months of 2003. Consolidated revenues rose to €400.9 million, ($471.66m; £279.05m) 7.3% up year-on-year, growth that excluding negative currency effects would have been 18.9%.
    At the year's outset, Ipsos set a target –considered ambitious at the time – of 8% organic growth which is now certain to be exceeded for the full year. Growth is also trending toward a more even balance between regions, with a modest but definite pick-up in Europe.
    This is set to accelerate but will remain below 5% for the full-year, whereas double-digit growth is expected in North and Latin America, and Asia-Pacific. Operating margin is on course to rise for the sixth consecutive year.

• USA: Liberty Media (calendar Q3)
    Quarterly profits at the Colorado cable and telecommunications company owned by John Malone almost doubled from a year earlier on new revenue from electronic retailing after Liberty's purchase of its remaining stake in the QVC shopping channel.
    Profit soared to $41 million (€34.85; £24.26m) compared with $22 million last year. Revenue rose to $905 million from $525 million. That included $400 million in net sales from electronic retailing services. The company had no comparable revenues in this category a year earlier.

• Global: Publicis Groupe (calendar Q3)
    The Paris-headquartered agency holding company, world number four by 2002 billings, reported a year-on-year rise of 2% in organic revenue (acquisitions excluded).
    Total revenue including acquisitions were $1.1 billion (€0.93bn; £0.65bn), up 56% from the same period last year, thanks largely to the group's purchase of Bcom3 in September 2002.
    Chief executive Maurice Levy said the quarter yielded "confirmed growth" in North America, to a lesser extent in Latin America, but "the situation in Europe remains a concern ... several European markets still remain difficult."
    An operating margin of 15% is anticipated in H2 this year, a percentage Publicis expects to sustain through 2004.

USA: Univision (calendar Q3)
    Spanish-language media conglomerate Univision Communications posted net income of $42.2 million (€35.87m; £24.97m) in the three months ended September 30, compared to $20.3 million in the same period last year.
    Net revenue increased 19% to $321.1 million, up from $269.8 million in the same period last year. The company said television operation revenue was $283.9 million, up from $239.8 million a year ago.
    Univision's three networks - Univision, Galavision and Telefutura - had record third-quarter viewership; while the company's radio division posted net revenue of $7.4 million for the quarter.
    Chairman and chief executive A Jerrold Perenchio was pleased with the way the company was integrating the assets of Hispanic Broadcasting, one of the country's biggest Hispanic radio groups, acquired last month and relaunched as Univision Radio.

• Global: Wal-Mart (fiscal Q3)
    Fiscal third-quarter profit for the period to October 31 rose 13% year-on-year to $2.03 billion (€1.73bn; £1.20bn) compared with $1.8bn last year. Total sales rose 13% to $62.48bn from $55.24bn a year earlier.
    Sales at U.S. stores open at least a year, an important measure of a retailer's growth, climbed 6.1%, which reflected a 5.7% increase at Wal-Mart's discount stores, supercenters and neighborhood markets, and a 8% gain at its Sam's Club membership stores.
    Wal-Mart attributed its profit increase to a turnaround in its Sam's Club unit and to strong operating-profit gains in its international stores.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff