France-headquartered media giant Vivendi Universal yesterday posted a healthy Q2 performance at its media and communications arm.

Omitting its deal to acquire a holding in Moroccan telephone company Maroc Telecom, the group reported revenues of E6.2 billion, 7.6% ahead of Q2 2000’s E5.8bn. Following cost-cutting and synergies in the wake of December’s merger between Vivendi and Seagram, EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) soared 35% year-on-year from E830 million to E1.1bn.

“The results produced by Vivendi Universal in the second quarter are well ahead of market consensus,” beamed chairman Jean-Marie Messier. “They confirm the robustness of our business, with limited exposure to advertising; the benefits of a truly global position, and the fast progress of the reorganisation and implementation of our recent merger.”

In contrast to rival media colossus AOL Time Warner, which last week appeared to shy away from its full-year targets [WAMN: 19-Jul-01], Vivendi stressed that its 2001 financial goals would be met, adding that three-quarters of the year’s EBITDA target had already been achieved in the first six months.

Boosted by the success of movies such as The Mummy Returns, the film and television unit posted core earnings of E314m, up from E284m in Q1. The only division to make a loss was the internet portal Vizzavi – jointly owned with Vodafone – which reported a shortfall of E39m, narrower than the first quarter’s E49m.

News sources: New York Times; BBC Online Business News (UK)