Strong Year Gives Ubisoft Reason To CelebrateFrench publisher Ubisoft has announced its results for the 2003/04 financial year, showing that sales rose by some 22.5 per cent to top the half billion Euro mark, with strong growth also predicted for the coming year. The company, which is currently embarking on a program designed to significantly increase its development resources in Montreal and Shanghai, had sales of 508 million Euro during the full year, and reported pro forma EBITDA of 20 million Euro. The debt load of the publisher also fell significantly, with only 119 million Euro of the companys debts remaining - down 30 per cent from the previous year. For the coming year, Ubisoft is anticipating further strong growth - with sales growth in excess of 10 per cent and new gains in market share expected, while pro forma operating profit of between 38 and 43 million Euro is projected. Perhaps more importantly, the company - which has been steadily climbing the publisher rankings in both Europe and the United States - has extremely high ambitions for the coming years. "We are currently positioned the 7th ranked independent publisher in the United States, the 5th in the United Kingdom, the 3rd in Germany and the 2nd in France," explained Ubisoft CEO and president Yves Guillemot. "Our objective is now to rank among the top five in the US and to become the leader in Europe during the next three years." For the coming year, he said, "we plan to pursue our strategy centred on our studios, which we are going to strengthen even further by hiring 400 new high-potential talents." Ubisofts line-up for 2004/05 includes a sequel to the critically acclaimed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, a third game in the Tom Clancys Splinter Cell franchise, and new titles in franchises such as Myst, Tom Clancys Rainbow Six, Tom Clancys Ghost Recon, and The Settlers.