French media and telecoms conglomerate Vivendi Universal reported strong growth in both EBITDA and revenues in 2008, with CEO Jean-Bernard Levy saying that the group ‘reached the goals that we set in the beginning of 2008’. Consolidated revenues reached EUR25.39 billion (USD32.15 billion) in 2008, up 17.2% year-on-year, while EBITDA climbed 4.9% to EUR4.95 billion after the impact of EUR245 million in neuf Cegetel’s and Activision’s cost integration. Adjusted net income stood at EUR2.74 billion, up 8.4% on a constant basis.
In 2008 Vivendi’s telecoms arm SFR increased its revenues by 28.1% year-on-year to EUR11.55 billion, due to the consolidation of neuf Cegetel on 15 April 2008 and the integration of the fixed and ADSL operations of Tele2 France on 20 July 2007. On a comparable basis, SFR’s revenues grew by 1.2% in 2008, mainly due to the favorable impact of an increase in both the operator’s mobile customer base and mass market broadband internet customers, along with increased usage – especially in access, data, fixed and mobile internet services. SFR reported mobile revenues of EUR8.99 billion in 2008, up 2.2% y-o-y (+1.7% on a comparable basis), of which mobile service revenues increased 2.2% to EUR8.58 billion. Excluding the impact of a 13% cut in mobile voice termination rates from 1 January 2008, SFR’s mobile service revenues would have increased by 4.1% in the year. The mobile unit added 886,000 net new mobile customers last year, increasing its registered customer base to 19.652 million, and improving the customer mix (percentage of post-paid customers in customer base) by 3.6 percentage points in the year; it had 13.582 million contract users by 31 December 2008. 3G customers reached 5.9 million at end-December 2008, compared to 4.1 million a year before.
Broadband internet and fixed line services revenues reached EUR2.88 billion, decreasing by 0.2% compared to 2007 on a comparable basis, due to the decline of wholesale turnover (in a French market that has consolidated in recent years) and switched voice operations, offset by the growth in mass market broadband internet services and the Enterprise segment. Excluding the impact of the decrease in switched voice revenues, broadband internet and fixed revenues increased by 4.2% year-on-year. In 2008, SFR’s broadband internet subscriber base increased by 7.7% to 3.879 million; it also connected 194,000 Enterprise data links to the SFR network. Broadband internet and fixed EBITDA, including those of neuf Cegetel and Tele2 France, was EUR457 million, a decrease of EUR15 million on a comparable basis.