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Thompson trips on tech

Components, consumer division show steep drops

French equipment and film services company Thomson saw revenues plunge 12% in the first quarter, despite big gains in its divisions that deal with Hollywood studios and broadcasters.

The company — whose assets include Technicolor, Grass Valley and RCA — saw overall quarterly revenues drop from $2.16 billion in 2002 to $2.06 billion in the first quarter of 2003.

The company saw huge drops in revenues for its components division (down 39.7% to $281 million) and consumer products (down 20% to $775 million).

Thomson blamed weak consumer confidence in a poor economy for part of the downturn, as well as slow sales of broadcast equipment ahead of last week’s NAB convention, where many companies go window-shopping before putting in equipment orders this quarter.

The company did see big growth in its operations that replicate films, DVD and VHS tapes and provide distribution and post-production services. DVD growth also is making up for the continuing decline in the VHS business. New post-production deals with Universal and DreamWorks should further boost the division’s numbers, the company said.

The company also saw licensing revenues jump 13.5%.

Thomson said it expects to see second-quarter revenues flatten out compared with last year, to between $2.28 billion and $2.50 billion, helped in part by some new contracts and a recovering economy as uncertainties related to the U.S. invasion of Iraq ease.

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