Lagardere sees stable core op profit in 2012


French media-to-aerospace conglomerate Lagardere aims to keep its core operating profit stable this year after a tumultuous 2011 marred by problems at its fledgling sports unit and weaker book sales.

The group posted a net loss of 707 million euros last year, hurt by write-downs of 895 million euros to reflect the lower value of its sports and French pay-TV units.

Its core operating profit fell 11.1 percent to 414 million euros on a constant currency basis. This was the low end of the company’s guidance for a drop of 5-12 percent given after two profit warnings last year, Reuters reports.

The company also proposed a dividend of 1.30 euros for 2011, which is the same level as 2010.

For this year, Lagardere said its guidance for stable core operating profit is based on an assumption that advertising sales will be similar this year to last year.

Chief Financial Officer Dominique d’Hinnin told reporters at a briefing that advertising sales looked to be on track to decline roughly 4 percent in the first quarter.