Media and utilities group Vivendi Universal on Tuesday reported a massive loss of €13.6 billion ($11.84bn;£8.33bn) for the year to December 2001.

Underlying the loss was a massive €15.7bn write-down, thought to be the largest ever by a European company. Of this sum, Vivendi’s TV unit Canal Plus accounted for €6bn and the group’s music interests €3.1bn. But in best Humpty-Dumpty mode, chairman Jean-Marie Messier assured that the charge “did not represent any value destruction” as it was paid mainly in shares.

Vivendi’s media and communications units had met their 2001 target of 10% organic growth, said Messier, generating underlying profits of almost €6bn. Media revenues hit €28.1bn producing an underlying profit of €5bn. Utilities revenues totalled €57bn.

“I am very pleased with the excellent operating results,” Messier professed. “These ... confirm the strength of Vivendi Universal’s businesses across the board despite a very difficult global economic environment.”

The group, he added, had no hidden loans and is committed to full financial disclosure on a consistent basis

Data sourced from: The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff