30/08/2011

UTV Bullish As Profits Rise

"Robust" financial figures have been published by UTV in Belfast.

For the six months ended 30 June pre-tax profits for the regional broadcaster up by 15% to £10.9m (£9.5m last year).

Group operating profits are also up by 4% to £12.8m (2010: £12.3m) with a £14.2 m (18%) reduction in net debt over 12 months to £63.1m (2010: £77.3m).

John McCann, Group Chief Executive, UTV Media plc, said: "These are another robust set of results despite the challenging macroeconomic conditions.

"A 15% uplift in pre-tax profits, an 18% reduction in net debt and a significant increase in dividend all point to good progress being made in positioning the company for the upturn," he said, positively adding that the Group revenue was maintained at £59.1m (2010: £58.8m) post World Cup and that net finance costs were down 32% to £1.8m (2010: £2.7m).

He also reported that adjusted earnings per share were up by 16% to 8.64p (2010: 7.44p) with a proposed interim dividend of 1.5p (2010: 1.00p)

He said that operational highlights and prospects included a strong market outperformance across both radio and TV and revenues being maintained in Great Britain Radio despite the tough comparatives of the 2010 World Cup.

He reported that Irish Radio Revenues down were however down by 4% in difficult market conditions with an associated profit decline of £0.2m in the first six months

Television advertising revenue was up by 4% compared to the ITV Network, which was flat, and total operating costs were largely unchanged from last year with increased GB Radio content costs offset by reduced World Cup and overhead costs.

UTV owns the UTV television channel in Northern Ireland as well as several radio stations in Ireland and Great Britain, including Talksport.

(BMcC/CD))

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