PARIS (Reuters) - Telecoms and entertainment group Vivendi (VIV.PA) said on Wednesday the current economic gloom was not hurting its business as it posted higher adjusted profits for the first nine months, driven by growth in Brazil and in video games.
Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy also told Le Figaro newspaper that plans to buy out media group Lagardere (LAGA.PA)’s minority stake in Vivendi’s pay-TV unit Canal+ were no longer on the table.
Vivendi has been on an acquisition spree this year, agreeing last week to buy EMI’s recorded music arm for 1.4 billion euros to bolster its Universal music business. It is also now finalizing a deal to merge its pay-TV business in Poland with local rival media group TVN TVNN.WA, and recently bought two free-to-air TV channels in France from Bollore Group.
Earlier this year, the Paris-based conglomerate also bought out Vodafone’s (VOD.L) minority stake in French telecom operator SFR for 7.95 billion euros in a bid to gain full ownership of the business that is its main driver of group profits and cash.
After all these deals, Levy said Vivendi held 14-14.5 billion euros in debt and admitted that left little room to do further acquisitions.
“We won’t raise the debt anymore because it is out of question that we lost out BBB credit rating,” he told the newspaper. “In any case... we will propose a slight hike in the dividend this year.”
Vivendi posted a 13.8 percent rise in nine-months adjusted net profit to 2.5 billion euros while revenue rose 0.8 percent to 21 billion euros, according to figures in the Figaro.
A Thomson Reuters poll of 7 analysts had expected adjusted net profit of 2.4 billion euros and revenue of 21 billion euros.
Reporting by Leila Abboud and Dominique Vidalon