Vivendi Sees Profits Soar in Q1

23 May 2005

Paris-headquartered media and telecoms group Vivendi, which was close to financial implosion just three years ago, has announced robust first quarter profits.

The company, which was dragged to the edge of the abyss by the demonic deal-making of former chairman/ceo Jean-Marie Messier, has tripled Q1 net profits to €502 million ($633.92m; £345.14m) from €166m a year ago.

Operating profit rose to €4.76 billion from €4.39bn, thanks to lower tax and interest payments and a turnaround in the company's music and video games business. Increased earnings at the Canal Plus pay-TV unit and a sharp rise in the value of a convertible bond linked to the Spanish TV group Sogecable also boosted first-quarter figures.

Vivendi's resurrection was masterminded by chairman/ceo Jean-René Fourtou, who recently handed over the ceo role to Jean-Bernard Levy. Fourtou's strategy included selling off more than €22bn in unwanted businesses assets, including movie studios and water utilities.

The company says the latest figures "support" its outlook for adjusted profit of at least €1.8 billion this year, up from €1.38 billion in 2004.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff