Vivendi, the French conglomerate which wants to cut back its telecoms exposure, saw its third-quarter performance dragged down by SFR, its telecoms unit in France.
Hit by price wars, as well as regulatory pressure, SFR’s revenue fell 8.7 per cent in the period, to €2.5 billion, year-on-year.
The poor SFR performance offset growth at Vivendi’s Universal Media Group and Canal+. Overall group revenue was up a tiny 0.3 per cent, to €5.35 billion, over the period.
More worryingly for Vivendi, underlying cash profits at SFR, or EBITDA, slumped 37.8 per cent, to €334 million.
Third-quarter profit attributable to Vivendi shareholders totalled €376 million, down from last year’s €493 million in the same quarter.
Little wonder, then, Vivendi management talked up progress on a listing of SFR, which runs the second-largest mobile operator in France behind Orange.
“Work on the demerger is going at good pace,” Phillipe Capron, CFO, told Reuters. “Achieving an independent listing for SFR will be beneficial to our shareholders by removing the conglomerate discount and revealing true value and growth potential of our media businesses.”
Low-cost rival Iliad, meanwhile, continues to beat analyst expectations. Buoyed by growth in mobile and broadband services, Q3 revenue was up 15.3 per cent, to €944 million.
Analysts from Barclays, Credit Suisse and JP Morgan – reports Reuters – had expected quarterly revenue of between €927 and €935 million.
Reuters pointed out, however, that net additions of mobile customers during Q3 slowed to 640,000 compared with 720,000 the previous quarter. It indicates perhaps that Iliad’s Free Mobile service, launched in January 2012, has passed its growth peak.