"We have come a long way this year, but of course, there is still much to do. The problems facing the music industry cannot be solved in a few months."

HANDS: THINGS LOOKING UP AT EMI

Music Group's Q1 Bottom Line Shows “Dramatic Improvement”
After a promising first quarter, Guy Hands urges his beleaguered EMI troops to stay the course in one of his periodic internal e-mails.

The Terra Firma boss said the company is “on target” to deliver "significant cost savings" after generating in excess of $573 million in Q1 revenue.

The memo cites a "dramatic improvement" for its bottom line, in which the London-based music group achieved EBITDA of $118 million against a loss of $89.8 million in a similar period in 2007.

Revenue during the first quarter rose 61% to $573.8 million, which doesn’t even count most of the sales returns from Coldplay's global hit Viva La Vida, which was released late in the period.

"We now have in place a reshaped organizational structure, with clearer accountability for profit and loss," Hands explains after the recent appointment of CEO Elio Leoni-Sceti. "We have introduced and now mainly implemented the previously announced changes and improvements to the way we run our business, and are on target to achieve significant cost savings. And there has been a massive reduction in waste…as well as cockroaches."

Since Hands himself has stepped aside from his chairmanship of EMI into a non-executive function, this may well be his last missive as the company’s top gun.

Even with a solid quarter, Hands admits the market’s volatile nature. "We have come a long way this year, but of course, there is still much to do. The problems facing the music industry cannot be solved in a few months.

"However, it is already clear to me that what is emerging at EMI is not only a far leaner organization, but a more focused and effective one as well, and better aligned with the interests of our artists. An organization that is becoming much better placed to serve artists and customers alike, and to give our talented people the opportunity and the tools to produce their best work."

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