Paris-headquartered media and telecoms group Vivendi is continuing its spectacular recovery from near financial implosion only three years ago.

The company has just announced figures for the first half of 2005 and reports that sales rose by 9% to €9.13 billion ($11.19bn; £6.14bn). Profits after tax increased 49% to €1.26bn. Its music and telecoms divisions contributed most to the improvement.

Ceo Jean-Bernard Lévy says the company is now "in great shape" and will beat full year forecasts. He adds: "We will now exceed our announced 2005 adjusted net income target for the year of at least €1.8bn."

The company was dragged to edge of the financial abyss in 2002 when it crashed to a full-year loss of €23.3bn, the biggest in French corporate history and the result of demonic deal making by former chairman/ceo Jean-Marie Messier.

Its resurrection was masterminded by Jean-René Fourtou, whose strategy included selling off more than €22bn in unwanted business assets including movie studios and water utilities. Fourtou is now chairman of Vivendi after he handed the ceo role to Lévy in April this year.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff