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Vivendi reports loss and plans to sell business units

Global communications company Vivendi Universal has reported a loss of €12.3bn (£7.9bn) for the first half of 2002 yesterday, and announced plans to sell off parts of the business to reduce debt levels by about €10bn (£6.4bn).

Vivendi's net income for the same period last year was €22m (£14m.

Net income excluding goodwill amortisation and non-recurring items was a loss of €66m (£42m, compared with an income of €295m (£188.5m) for the same period last year.

The company's debt was about €35bn (£22.4bn), €16bn (£10.2bn) of which related to Vivendi Environment, an environmental services business of which Vivendi owns 41%.

The company plans to improve its liquidity by reducing debt by €10bn (£6.4bn) in the next two years, €5bn (£3.2bn) of that within the next five months, it said.

This will be achieved through restructuring the Canal Plus group and the sale of non-core assets including educational publisher Houghton Mifflin.

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