PARIS: Vivendi said on Thursday its net profits slumped nearly a fifth in the first quarter of 2014, as the group continued to sell telecom assets to focus on its media business.
Earnings fell 19.3 percent in the first three months of the year to 431 million euros ($590 million) compared with the outcome a year earlier, according to unaudited earnings figures.
The group is pulling back from France's competitive telecom sector in favour of its media business, including its pay-TV unit Canal Plus and record label Universal Music Group.
Last month Vivendi agreed to sell its SFR mobile phone unit to French cable and fibre-optic network operator Numericable for 17 billion euros and this week it completed its sale of a controlling stake of Morocco Telecom.
The fate of SFR was seen as having a big impact on the structure of mobile phone services in France against a background of consolidation in European markets.
"Our transformation into a media and content coming to an end," said group chief executive Jean-Francois Dubos during a conference call.
"The group's financial position has been restored with a net cash position of 5 billion euros expected in late 2014, early 2015, and so the group is well-positioned to take advantage of these levers future growth."
Vivendi said group net debt contracted to 11.2 billion euros in the first quarter, down from 13.2 billion euros at the end of March last year. Including the sale of its 53 percent interest Morocco Telecom completed on Wednesday, it reduced to 7.1 billion euros.
Revenues fell 3.7 percent against the first quarter of 2013, including the impact of currency movements, to 2.72 billion euros.
Investors backed the news, with Vivendi shares gaining 0.48 percent on the Paris stock exchange, against a 0.26 percent fall in the CAC index of 40 leading companies. (AFP)