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Universal and BMG both aid parent company financials

By | Published on Friday 30 August 2013

Universal Music

Having completed its acquisition of the EMI record company last autumn, sales at Universal Music shot up 16.3% year-on-year in the first half of 2013, from €1.92 billion to €2.24 billion, though the costs of integrating the former British major meant that profits were down.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were €143 million, down from €156 million in the same period a year earlier. Though for the last quarter EBITA were €88 million, more or less in line with the second quarter in 2012.

The mega-major said that continued sales of Rihanna’s last album, the debut from US alt-rock band Imagine Dragons, the ‘Les Misérables’ movie soundtrack, and the new acoustic version of Justin Bieber’s ‘Believe’ played a key role in generating mega-sales during the first half of the year. Meanwhile major releases from both Eminem and Lady Gaga should assure a successful second half of the year.

Universal Music remains one of the most successful businesses for parent company Vivendi, which saw its EBITA in the second quarter slide 19.9% to $1.01 billion, even though overall sales were more or less the same as a year earlier. As previously reported, it is the telecoms side of Vivendi that continues to struggle, with management at the company still looking to withdraw from that sector to focus on media and entertainment.

Commenting on the latest round of financials, Vivendi CEO Jean-Francois Dubos told reporters: “Vivendi’s subsidiaries are confronted with a challenging economic environment and highly competitive markets. In this context, the group’s media businesses have resisted, benefiting from the first positive impacts of the acquisitions and growth drivers they put in place. Vivendi is realising at its own pace its announced restructuring aimed at achieving new growth milestones. Our priority remains the creation of shareholder value”.

Elsewhere in financial reports, German media group Bertelsmann has reported operating profits for the first half of 2013 up 5.2%, an uplift very much aided by the firm taking full control of the BMG music company in April. As previously reported, Bertelsmann bought business partner KKR out of BMG earlier this year.

Commenting on the first half of 2013, Bertelsmann top man Thomas Rabe told reporters: “The first six months went well for Bertelsmann. We have made good progress on our four strategic priorities: strengthening the core, digital transformation, building growth platforms and expanding our activities in growth regions”.