Vivendi Weighs Impact of Coranavirus as Universal Music Drives Growth in Q1

Courtesy of Vivendi

French entertainment and advertising giant Vivendi provided an update on the impact of coronavirus on its wide-ranging business interests this morning, as it posted quarterly results showing 4.4% revenue growth on a fixed currency basis to €3.87 billion ($4.2 billion) for the period from January to March.

Universal Music Group (UMG) and Canal Plus Group owner Vivendi said its revenues for the first three months of 2020 had been “little affected” by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

France only went into lockdown towards the end of the quarter, on March 17.

Vivendi reported a decline in revenues for certain business divisions in March, notably by advertising group Havas Group, publishing arm Editis and development operation Vivendi Village, citing the first effects of the Covid-19 crisis.

Vivendi said it is impossible to determine with certainty how the pandemic will impact its future revenues and annual results, though it allowed that revenues of Havas Group, Editis and Vivendi Village are expected to be affected in the second quarter of 2020.

Vivendi said its revenue growth for the first quarter mainly stemmed from the growth of UMG and Canal Plus Group.

UMG’s revenues were €1.77 billion ($1.92 billion), up 12.7% on a constant currency basis compared to the first quarter of 2019.

Vivendi cited growth in subscription and streaming revenues, up 16.5%, and the receipt of a digital royalty claim. Revenues were impacted by the continued decline of downloads, which fell 26.1%.

Bestsellers for the first quarter of 2020 included new releases from King & Prince, Justin Bieber, Eminem and The Weeknd, as well as continued sales from Billie Eilish and Post Malone.

Music publishing revenues grew by 17.7%, also driven by increased subscription and streaming revenues.

For the first quarter of 2020, Canal Plus Group’s revenues were €1.37 billion ($1.49 billion), up 1% on a constant currency basis.

Revenues from Canal Plus Group’s television operations in mainland France decreased slightly, down 0.7%. But revenues from international operations grew by 8.7% at constant currency, driven both by organic growth and the integration of recent acquisition M7, the Benelux and central Europe pay-TV firm.

Vivendi said it is confident in the resilience of its main businesses in light of the coronavirus pandemic, noting that its gross cash position stood at €4.8 billion ($5.2 billion) following the sale at the end of March of a 10% interest in UMG to a consortium led by Tencent based.

Vivendi also said it has €3.9 billion ($4.2 billion) in confirmed credit facilities, including €2.3 billion ($2.5 billion) immediately available.

Its bond debt amounts to €5.4 billion ($5.9) billion), with maturities extending to 2028. The group’s net debt stood at €2.4 billion ($2.6 billion) on March 31, 2020.