Vivendi cuts losses but stays cautious

Steve Dinneen
Follow Steve
Europe’s largest entertainment group was cautious yesterday despite posting better than expected results.

In the last three months of 2009, Vivendi posted a net loss of €958m (£868m), narrowed from €1.38bn a year earlier. The buoyant results were boosted by strong performances from its gaming and telecoms operations. Revenue for the quarter was €7.61bn, down from €7.62bn.

Net profit for the last quarter was dragged down by a €550m provision for possible damages in a lawsuit brought against the firm for releasing misleading statements about its financial health in 2001 and 2002. Vivendi was found guilty but is appealing the ruling. Revenue for the year was up 6.9 per cent on the year before at €27.13bn, while Ebitda increased 8.8 per cent to €5.39bn.

Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, which boasts artists including U2 and Lady Gaga, saw another rapid decline in CD sales. Last year, the company’s revenues were €4.3bn, a 6.2 per cent decrease compared to 2008. A silver lining was provided by its digital sales, which grew 8.4 per cent in 2009. The company attributed this to changing attitudes to online sales.

Chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy said: “We are being reasonably conservative on our predictions for 2010.”