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Overall, revenue was up 13% to 6.8 billion euros, while EBITDA grew 18% to 1.1 billion euros. Operating income was up 37% to 408 million euros.

VIVENDI UNIVERSAL ROLLS NUMBERS

French Company Offers Slice of Cheese with
Q1 Media and Communications Results
Spinning hard against a personnel issue turned national arts issue and a stock price that’s roughly half of what it was worth a year ago, French media conglom Vivendi Universal released strong Q1 numbers for its media and communications segments, beating forecasts.

Overall, revenue was up 13% to 6.8 billion euros, while EBITDA grew 18% to 1.1 billion euros. Operating income was up 37% to 408 million euros.

Citing “management priorities” that include making “no significant acquisitions, focus on debt reduction, focus on operations and cash management, focus on synergies that create revenue growth and mitigating sources of negative free cash flow,” the company appears eager to calm investors and spell out chief executive Jean-Marie Messier’s fiscal objectives, even as Lescuregate continues to rage.

For the quarter, Universal Music Group reported revenues of 1.4 billion euros, EBITDA of 137 million euros and operating income of 27 million euros, representing declines of 6%, 24% and 61% respectively. However, operating cash flow increased 79 million euros to 415 million.

The company explained that UMG’s earnings recession was the result of  “an expected lighter release schedule,” with major releases slated for the latter part of the year. A sluggish worldwide market for recorded music was also a factor, the company said.

UMG's current marketshare is approximately the same as the prior-year period, with declines in Latin America and the U.K. offset by increases in Asia and Australia, New Zealand and Africa. Top sellers of Q1 included the NOW 9 compilation, O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and Nickelback.

Meanwhile, UMG is looking strong for Q2, with a heavy Top 10 presence (Ashanti, Sheryl Crow, NOW 9, Scorpion King) and a whopping 30% marketshare for the first week of April.

VU expects UMG's releases and financial results for the year to be more heavily weighted toward the second half of 2002 than was the case for 2001. UMG's release schedule for the remainder of  2002 includes Shania Twain, U2, Bon Jovi, Limp Bizkit, Nelly, Eminem, Shaggy and Dr. Dre.

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