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EMI ousts execs, issues profit warning

EMI Group PLC said Friday two top music executives are leaving the company and said it expects revenue to fall at its music division after lower-than-expected sales over the Christmas period.

EMI Music Chief Executive Alain Levy and Vice-Chairman David Munns will leave the world’s third-largest music company with immediate effect, EMI said.

EMI, home to Coldplay and Robbie Williams, said in October that it expected the bulk of its full-year sales to be generated in the second half of the financial year ending March 30.

However, on Friday, the company downgraded its full-year revenue forecast significantly. It expects a 6 percent to 10 percent fall in EMI Music revenues.

EMI also said it will introduce further cost-cutting measures aimed at generating annual savings of 110 million pounds ($213 million). The company sees more than half of the savings coming through in the financial year to March 2008, with the full amount realized in the year ending March 2009. The restructuring will entail a one-off expense of no more than 150 million pounds ($291 million), EMI said.

In the Christmas trading period, EMI had been counting on strong performance by two key products – “Love,” an album of remixed material from The Beatles, and Robbie Williams’ latest album “Rudebox,” according to analysts.

Levy was recruited by EMI five years ago to turn around the fortunes of the ailing music company after the departure of Ken Berry. Levy’s role will now be filled by Eric Nicoli, who joined the company as chairman in 1999.

Under Nicoli’s tenure, EMI has made several unsuccessful attempts to merge with industry partners.

EMI earlier this year said it was abandoning merger talks with Warner Music Group Corp., due to an unfavorable ruling from the European Court Of First Instance on another music industry merger. 

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