November 9, 2017 / 2:21 PM / 8 months ago

French group Lagardere could sell assets to boost cashflow

PARIS (Reuters) - Lagardere (LAGA.PA), the French media group behind magazine brands such as Elle and Paris Match, said it was open to a strategic review of its business which could lead to the sale of assets.

FILE PHOTO - Arnaud Lagardere, the head of French media group Lagardere, attends the groups annual general meeting in Paris, France, May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

Arnaud Lagardere, the principal managing partner of the company, on Thursday emphasized his determination to improve Lagardere’s cashflow.

“If we want to go further and really, radically improve it, as I have said before, that would imply that we could have a review of some of the assets we own. Why not?” Lagardere said on a conference call after the group’s third-quarter sales figures.

“This would probably form part of our forthcoming talks. Be patient,” added Lagardere, whose family owns a stake of around 7 percent in the group according to Reuters data.

Earlier on Thursday, Lagardere reported third-quarter revenues down 6.3 percent from a year ago on a consolidated basis. It kept its 2017 target for recurring EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) growth of between 5-8 percent.

No cashflow numbers were given as part of those quarterly sales figures. At the time of Lagardere’s first-half results in July, the company reported a negative free cashflow due partly to the effect of working capital costs.

Shares in Lagardere, a company in which the Qatar Investment Authority has a 13 percent stake, were flat in afternoon trading.

The stock is up around 7 percent so far in 2017, outperforming a 6 percent fall on the STOXX Europe 600 Media & Publishing index .SXMP.

Reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic; Writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Keith Weir

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