Vivendi Swings To Loss
March 2, 2009 at 5:29 AM (PT)
VIVENDI SA TODAY said it swung to a large loss in the fourth quarter as falling equity markets forced it to write down the value of its stake in film and television powerhouse NBC UNIVERSAL, but its underlying performance held up, allowing it to pay a higher dividend, reports WSJ's MARKETWATCH.
The FRENCH telecoms, media, videogame giant and parent company of UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP posted a loss of 1.38 billion euros ($1.74 billion) compared to a profit of 521 million euros earned in the year-earlier quarter. It swung into the red in the latest quarter as it wrote down the value of its NBC UNIVERSAL stake by 1.5 billion euros. Excluding one-time items, however, adjusted net profit improved 12% to 656 million euros. This is the measure closely tracked by analysts and beat the consensus forecast of 609.9 million euros from 11 analysts polled by DOW JONES Newswires.
In a statement Chief Executive JEAN-BERNARD LEVY also said that despite the current market conditions he approaches 2009 with "confidence and vigilance" and expects earnings before interest, taxes, appreciation and amortization to rise strongly.
Sales rose at all the divisions in the fourth quarter except UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, the world's largest music company, where they slipped 7.8% to 1.51 billion euros. UMG operating profit contracted 3.8% to 278 million euros.