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Ubisoft first half sales fall 52%

Lower numbers fulfil expectations, but publisher still on track for EUR 1 billion year

Ubisoft has reported its financial results for the first half of its fiscal year - the six months ended September 30 - with the headline news that sales have fallen to less than half their number of the previous year, in line with expectations.

In total the publisher noted first half sales at EUR 166 million (USD 246 million), down 51.7 per cent, while second quarter revenues came in at EUR 83 million (USD 123 million) - slightly higher than the guidance figure of EUR 80 million (USD 119 million).

An operating loss of EUR 80 million (USD 119 million) is expected for the first half, compared to an operating profit of EUR 33 million (USD 49 million) last year.

But the company is still on course to achieve its EUR 1 billion sales target for the full year, with the second half of the year set to be "significantly more favourable with a return to strong growth and profitability," according to CEO Yves Guillemot.

In total the games released in the first six months included Call of Juarez: Bound In Blood which sold over 900,000 units in that time - but the line-up for the next six months is much stronger and includes Assassin's Creed 2 and James Cameron's Avatar: The Game.

"As expected, in the first half of fiscal 2009-10 the market was very difficult both for Nintendo DS games and for our back-catalogue titles, with few new releases," said Guillemot. "The second half of the year should be significantly more favourable with a return to strong growth and profitability.

"Although the environment is still uncertain and the full effect of the sharp drop in console prices has yet to be felt, Ubisoft has the advantage of a diversified and very high-quality line-up for the crucial Holiday period, including the blockbusters Assassin's Creed 2 and James Cameron's Avatar: The Game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and a wide-ranging portfolio of very well-calibrated games for the Wii such as Your Shape, Just Dance, Shaun White and Rabbids Go Home.

"Growth is expected to be even stronger in the fourth quarter, fuelled by the launches of Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction, Red Steel 2 and RUSE. Finally, thanks to the investments we have made in recent years to develop our creative workforce, we will be launching numerous initiatives and innovations in the short and medium-term in all segments of the industry, both for current and future consoles and for on-line games."

If sales do hit targets for the second half of the year, they'll represent a 6 per cent growth over the same period last year.

In the first nine calendar months of 2009 the company was fourth in the rankings for independent publishers in the US with a market share of 4.2 per cent, down slightly from 5 per cent last year, but steady in Europe in position three with a share of 7.9 per cent.

Ubisoft's share price climbed throughout today ahead of the financial release to close up 1.7 per cent at EUR 10.66 (USD 15.82).

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