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Thomson Multimedia'01 Sales Dip 4%

2/12/2002 12:36:00 PM Eastern

Paris - Sales of analog television sets and VCRs decreased in the United States in 2001, due mainly to retailer inventory reduction in the second half, reported Thomson Multimedia, maker of RCA-branded products.

The decline came despite 'good activity level,' in the United States, notably for mid-range TV sets, between the Thanksgiving to Christmas selling period, said Thomson.

Thomson's Consumer Products division recorded a 4.1 percent revenue decrease during 2001, reaching $5.8 billion, down from $6 billion the previous year.

The Consumer Products division's operating income declined 22.1 percent in 2001, hitting $117.5 million, down from $150.8 million in 2000.

Thomson, which has actively pursued a strategy of repositioning itself along the digital video chain, said sales of consumer electronics products now represent less than half of its revenue.

During the fourth quarter, Thomson, overall, recorded revenue of $3 billion, an increase of 27 percent, compared with the fourth quarter of 2000. This good performance was supported by a return to growth of its Consumer Products division, which enjoyed a 2.8 percent sales increase during the last three months of the year.

Overall Thomson revenue jumped 15.4 percent for the 12 months, hitting $9.2 billion, up from $8 billion in 2000.

Earnings before income and taxes (EBIT) climbed 16.5 percent in the 12 months, reaching $557.6 million, up from $478.7 million the previous year.

Net income, however, dropped 27.4 percent, to $250.8 million in 2001, down from $345.5 million in the previous 12 months. Net income includes a charge of $121.9 million in 2001, compared with a tax gain of $876,900 in 2000.

Thomson, despite a difficult 2001, particularly with tubes and televisions in the United States, maintains overall company double-digit growth targets for both revenue and operating profit in 2002. The manufacturer said it should benefit from new initiatives supporting growth and profitability, which include the Echostar agreement.