Financial Roundup: Major Marketers, Agencies, Media

02 August 2004

UK (fiscal Q1)

  • BT Group
        Net profit fell 13% in the three months to June 30, down year-on-year to £305 million ($554.6m; €460.92m) from £350 million, due mainly to the costs of staff cuts at BT's traditional businesses. Revenue edged down 0.4% to £4.57 billion from £4.59bn.
        "New wave [mobile and broadband] is now really getting traction, and we have a better handle on our traditional business," said ceo Ben Verwaayen. While 'new wave' revenue has grown significantly for three consecutive quarters, the decline of BT's traditional business has slowed.
        'New wave' services accounted for more than 20% of overall sales during the quarter. Revenue from such services grew 32% to £936 million.
        Revenue at the Information Communications Technology division rose 15% to £634 million, while broadband revenue doubled to £186 million

    Global (calendar Q2)
  • DaimlerChrysler
        The German/US automaker's best quarter in four years and higher sales of trucks and buses helped net income to increase fivefold.
        But the US unit's recovery was held back by a much weaker performance at the Mercedes luxury-car unit and a €478 million ($575.12m; £316.3m) loss stemming from DaimlerChrysler's 37% stake in sickly Japanese partner Mitsubishi Motors.
        Net income rose year-on-year to €554 million from €109 million while revenue increased 9% to €37.1 billion.
        Chrysler, aided by such hits as the new 300 sedan and minivans with fold-flat seats, generated €516 million in operating profit, its strongest showing since the second quarter of 2000. This contrasts with the year-earlier period when the US carmaker posted a loss of €948 million amid a price war.
        "We're still not where we want to be, but we're on the right track," said chief executive Jürgen Schrempp. Thanks mainly to the renaissance at Chrysler, the group expects a "significant improvement" in 2004 operating profit over the €5.7 billion it reported for 2003.

    Global (fiscal Q1)
  • Nissan Motor Company
        Japan's second largest automaker (after Toyota) posted a 4.5% rise in fiscal first-quarter net income as US fervor for its cars accelerated, offsetting a slippage in domestic sales and the damaging effects of a weaker dollar.
       Net income of ¥123.23 billion ($1.1; €919.46m; £608.42m) compared with ¥117.89 billion a year earlier, while sales rose 15% to ¥1.905 trillion.

    USA/UK (calendar Q2)
  • Telewest Global
        Marking a major restructuring of the US-owned cable group (which operates primarily in the UK), the company has rebranded as Telewest Global -- nomenclature that indicates future hopes rather than current fact.
        Meantime, second quarter results for its nominal predecessor Telewest Communications were for the first time presented in US GAAP (generally accepted accounting practice) format.
        Q2 operating income increased year-on-year to £20 million ($36.36m; €30.22m) from £3m. The period also achieved a net gain of 72,000 broadband customer -- a record quarter -- while those buying two or more services increased year-on-year by four percentage points to 75% Total customers grew by 84,000 to 3.45m
        According to chairman Anthony 'Cob' Stenham, operating income and free cash flow were sharply up. "In particular, we achieved record growth in broadband services and increased the proportion of our "triple play" customers to 22%.
        "As a result of the financial restructuring, Telewest now has a strong balance sheet and a sound platform for delivering profitable growth as a leading broadband communications and media group in the United Kingdom."
        Stenham did not comment on the absence of bottom line color change. Or when it might be expected to morph from red to black.

    UK (calendar H1)
  • Trinity Mirror
        Chief executive Sylvia Bailey reported that all targets but one for this year's first half had been met, including the increase of margins at the regional titles, reducing debt and increasing the dividend.
        Interim profits jumped more than 25% to £100 million ($181.83m; €151.12m), while turnover was 4.1% higher at £572m thanks to increased advertising and circulation revenues.
       Bailey also raised the target for annualised cost savings at the company to £35m from £30m, already revised upward from £25m as the company continued its "stabilise, revitalise, grow" strategy.
        The one missed target? Market share at flagship national daily title The Mirror fell from 20.3% in May to 20.1% at the end of the reporting period on 30 June. This was roundly blamed on ousted editor Piers Morgan.

    Global (calendar Q2)
  • Vivendi Universal
        The Paris-headquartered media and telecoms group posted a decline in second-quarter revenue, nonetheless bettering expectations with robust performances at its music and telecommunications units.
        Revenue dropped 12% to €5.42 billion ($6.52bn; £3.59bn) from €6.13 billion a year earlier. The figure was nonetheless higher than an analysts' average expectation of €5.13 billion.
        Excluding the impact of the sale of its Vivendi Universal Entertainment assets in May, revenue rose 3% on a constant-currency basis. Like many French companies, Vivendi reports earnings and revenue separately. It will post first-half results September 14.
        The Vivendi Universal Music unit posted a 2% rise in revenue to €1.09 billion from €1.07 billion, as strong sales in North America and the United Kingdom countered market weakness in France and Japan
        Revenue at Vivendi's telecom unit rose 12% to €2.45 billion from €2.19 billion, while revenue at SFR Cegetel increased 12% to €2.06 billion from €1.83 billion.

    Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff