DOWNWARD TREND: French media group Lagardère reported first-half sales dropped 1.2 percent to 3.36 billion euros, or $4.59 billion.
Net sales at the firm’s multimedia division Lagardère Active were 435 million euros, or $593.7 million, down 7.7 percent compared with first-half 2013. On a like-for-like basis, the branch’s revenues declined 10 percent. The division was positively impacted by the acquisition of French TV production company Groupe Reservoir, which was fully consolidated beginning Feb. 1.
Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the period to which they refer.
Lagardère magazine revenues in France fell 6.6 percent. The country’s largest magazine publisher said this was due both to a sharp contraction in the print advertising market, which retreated 10.7 percent in the first half, and a slower decline in circulation, which fell 2.3 percent.
“Price increases were partly able to offset the drop in volumes,” said Lagardère chief financial officer Dominique D’Hinnin during a conference call on Thursday evening.
“We are confident that Active has good potential because of cost-cutting and restructuring […],” he continued.
As reported, on April 2 Lagardère entered into an agreement with a consortium of media and digital entrepreneurs to sell its 10 print titles, including women’s magazine Be, as part of a plan to focus on brands with a strong potential for digital development. The transfer was completed earlier in July.
“The impact of [our] restructuring plan in 2015 should be around 50 million euros [or $68.2 million at current exchange],” said Denis Olivennes, chairman and chief executive officer of the division, adding that in the previous years, cost saving amounted to between 25 million euros and 30 million euros, or $33.5 million to $40.2 million.
Lagardère’s flagship titles are the French edition of Elle and Paris Match.
Earlier on Thursday, the group said Stéphane Berthelot has been named corporate communications director for Lagardère Active, effective Sept. 1. He succeeds Thierry Orsoni, who will become general secretary of the Open Internet Project, an association created by Lagardère Active and media groups Springer and CCM Benchmark.
Valérie Blondeau was named director of commercial communications for Lagardère Active and will also remain communications director of the Lagardère Publicité advertising sales division.