Vivendi reports doubled half-year profit

French media and telecom group Vivendi announced on Wednesday a doubling of first-half net profits to €2.5 billion ($3.6 billion) as it continued to reap the benefits from a legal victory.

The Paris-based group’s results were boosted by a €1.25-billion settlement from a legal battle in Poland during the first quarter.  

Sales were broadly stable, nudging up 1.9 percent to €14.2 billion, while earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (EBITA) rose 3.7 percent to 3.4 billion.  

“Despite the turbulent economic and financial environment, our operational indicators are increasing. We confirm our full year outlook for adjusted net income above 3 billion euros, and for an increase in the dividend,” chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy said in a statement.  

Vivendi’s Brazilian telecoms unit GVT posted strong growth with sales up nearly 54 percent to €682 million, with EBITA rising 55 percent to €285 million.  

Its Activision video games also posted 9.0-percent sales growth to 1.9 billion, with EBITA up 34 percent to 833 million.  

However sales by its Universal Music Group slipped by nearly two percent to €1.9 billion, with EBITA dropping 17 percent.  

Sales by the French telecoms unit SFR dipped by 2.0 percent to 4.3 billion euros, with EBITA dropping 8.0 percent to €1.9 billion as it absorbed the cost of higer sales tax on some mobile services.  

The company’s shares jumped more than four percent in early trading while the Paris CAC 40 index was showing a gain of 0.4 percent.

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Air France reports €1.2 billion loss for 2012

Air France-KLM reported on Friday a net loss of 1.2 billion euros, worse than a loss of 809 million euros in 2011, but said that underlying prospects were improving despite heavy fuel and restructuring costs.

Air France reports €1.2 billion loss for 2012
File photo of an Air France airplane. Photo: Kentaro Iemoto

Air France-KLM has suffered from a fall of competitiveness in recent years, under the pressure of low-cost operators and the rise of airlines in the Middle East and in Asia.

In January of last year, the company announced a vast restructuring plan called "Transform 2015."

The group cut its operating loss in 2012 to 300 million euros from a loss of 353 million euros in 2011. This was better than the average figure expected by analysts polled by
Bloomberg financial agency of a loss of 334.6 million euros.

In the fourth quarter of last year, the operating loss was reduced to 143 million euros from 202 million euros 12 months earlier. Net debt, which weighs heavily on the group, fell by 540 million euros to slightly less than 6.0 billion euros.

Sales rose by 5.2 percent to 25.6 billion euros.

Financial director Philippe Calavia said that 2012 was an important year for the group because decisions about the structure and transformation of the company had been taken.

In January, The Local brought you the story of Air France's latest venture, Hop! – a new low-cost airline designed to challenge the dominance of Ryanair and easyJet.