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Thomson Posts Strong Results

Thomson Multimedia, the French parent of Thomson Consumer Electronics, reported net soared last year, with all its major operating divisions firmly in the black.

Thomson said its profit climbed to $223 million in 1999 from the year-earlier $16 million. As previously reported, Thomson's sales for the year were up 18.9% to $6.69 billion.

Operating earnings from consumer electronics totaled $90 million last year, against just $3 million in 1998. The displays and components business had a $108.6 million profit, down from the year-earlier $211 million, reflecting expenses for the opening of a new plant in China and plasma display R&D costs. The new media services sector had an operating loss of $53 million, against a 1998 deficit of $8.6 million.

Earnings from patent licenses jumped to $269 million from $45 million, including a $167 million boost from the package of RCA patents acquired from GE at the start of the year.

"These results show that the recovery and repositioning strategy of the group within the interactive realm are continuing to bear their fruits," said chairman Thierry Breton.

Separately, Thomson announced that in May is plans to declare a 2-for-1 stock split to improve the liquidity of its shares and make them more affordable.