Ahead of its merger with Seagram and Canal Plus, French media and utilities giant Vivendi has reported a 70% hike in sales at its media and phone unit - Vivendi Communication - to Euros9.4bn, in the first nine months of 2000.

The figure includes, for the first time, Canal Plus' contribution (Euros2.9bn), which was not consolidated at September 30 last year.

Canal Plus now counts 14.2 million subscribers, of which 4.5 million are digital subscribers. Turnover from international pay-TV services has grown 39% to Euros705m.

Vivendi's global sales reached Euros29.1bn, including Euros18.8bn from utilities unit, Vivendi Environment.