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Monday, 23 July, 2001, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Vivendi profits surge 53%
Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier
Vivendi boss Jean-Marie Messier has beaten growth expectations
French media giant Vivendi Universal posted a bigger-than-expected rise in second-quarter profits, boosted by strong performances at its film and telecoms divisions.

Vivendi Universal said in a statement that core earnings climbed 53% to 1.4bn euros (854m; $1.2bn), compared with 894m euros in the same period of 2000.

The result beat expectations, which had pointed to 40% profits growth, and sent Vivendi's shares up by nearly 6%.

"I can only re-emphasise our confidence. We will at least meet our stated targets," Vivendi chairman Jean-Marie Messier said in a statement.

Trend setters

Mr Messier said earlier this month he was confident the trend set in the first quarter, when Vivendi's profit more than doubled to 900m euros, would be repeated in the second.

Although Vivendi's telecoms and cinema divisions led group profit, analysts had expected slower telecoms growth after core earnings more than tripled to 433m euros in the first quarter.

In fact, the telecoms division posted a 70% jump in core earnings to 703m euros.

Only the firm's Vizzavi internet portal - jointly owned with Britain's Vodafone - returned losses, having struggled to attract traffic and revenues in the last three months.

Vizzavi lost 39m euros in the second quarter, slightly less than its 49m first-quarter loss.

Multimedia

Vivendi's film and TV division reported core earnings of 314m euros after 284m in the first quarter, helped by Universal Studio's enormous success with "The Mummy Returns".

Analysts had been concerned about the performance at its music division after AOL Time Warner confirmed a 32% profit slowdown in its music arm last week.

But Vivendi posted core profit in music of 271m euros in the second quarter; earnings were helped by the success of top-selling albums by Bon Jovi and Shaggy.

Vivendi Universal's second-quarter results did not include its majority owned water and waste management unit Vivendi Environnement.

See also:

02 Jun 01 | Business
Vivendi buys US education publisher
18 Apr 01 | Business
Media giants in Italy merger talks
09 Mar 01 | Business
Vivendi profits jump 60%
30 Oct 00 | Business
Watchdogs clear $24bn media merger
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