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Vivendi Confirms 2011 Targets Despite Economic Troubles

By Ruth Bender Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES PARIS -(Dow Jones)- French telecom-to-entertainment group Vivendi SA (VIV.FR) Wednesday confirmed its full-year targets as strong growth at its video-games and Brazilian telecoms units again helped offset weakness in the company's French telecoms business. "Despite the turbulent economic and financial environment, our operational indicators are increasing. We confirm our full year outlook for adjusted net income above EUR3 billion, and for an increase in the dividend," Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy said in a statement. The adjusted profit figure excludes most non-recurring items such as charges relating to acquisitions and mergers. Paris-based Vivendi earlier this year acquired full ownership of French telecoms group SFR, its biggest cash generator, by acquiring the 44% stake in French telecom operator SFR it didn't own from Vodafone Group PLC (VOD) for EUR7.95 billion. However, SFR is struggling amid heightened competition in the French telecoms market, where operators are battling each other ahead of the arrival of Iliad SA's (ILD.FR) Free brand on the mobile market. Still, Vivendi's net profit in the second quarter rose 23% to EUR824 million while adjusted profit rose 12% to EUR884 million, driven by the settlement of a legal dispute in Poland. Adjusted earnings before interest and tax, a closely watched figure that excludes charges relating to acquisitions and mergers, rose 0.3% to EUR1.66 billion in the quarter from EUR1.65 billion last year in the three months ended June 30, above analysts' forecast. Revenue rose 0.2% to EUR7.07 billion, meeting analyst forecasts. Vivendi shares Tuesday closed at EUR16.18. -By Ruth Bender, Dow Jones Newswires; +33 1 40 17 17 54; Order free Annual Report for Vivendi Universal SA Visit or call +44 (0)208 391 6028 Order free Annual Report for Vodafone Group PLC Visit or call +44 (0)208 391 6028

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