Vivendi Trebles H1 Losses, Blames Weak Dollar

15 September 2004

It's been a difficult first half for Paris-headquartered media, telecoms and utilities conglomerate Vivendi Universal.

The group reported net losses for the first six months of the year of €1.86 billion ($2.28bn; £1.27bn), almost three times higher than the €632m deficit for the same period in 2003 and exceeding analysts' predictions of €1.58bn.

Vivendi has recently undergone a radical overhaul in an attempt to control debts amassed under the control of former ceo Jean-Marie Messier. Although credited with defining the company as the globe's second-largest media group, Messier's numerous acquisitions brought Vivendi close to financial ruin.

During its restructuring, Vivendi sold many of its entertainment assets, including Universal Studios. Following the $3.8bn (€3.1bn; £2.1bn) sale of the film studio to NBC last year, Vivendi incurred losses as the dollar fell sharply against the euro.

Strong sales from mobile phone unit SFR and pay-TV operation Canal Plus, however, did provide a boost to overall operating profit, which climbed to €1.82bn during the first six months of the year.

Current ceo, Jean-Rene Fourtou, believes the financial status has been 'restored' and the group should exceed revised full-year profits forecasts of €1bn.

Data sourced from: BBC Online Business News (UK); additional content by WARC staff