Belfast Telegraph

World Cup fever helps lift UTV's pre-tax profits to £9.4m

By Clare Weir

UTV media company has reported an improved financial performance for the first half of 2010.

Pre-tax profit for the Belfast-based group rose by 17% to £9.4m, compared to £8m in the same period last year, with the World Cup credited for the upturn.

The interim results for the six months of 2010, ended June 30, showed that group revenue rose by 9% from £54.4m to £59.2m over the same period and the company announced an £18.4m reduction in net debt over 12 months to £77.3m. In March, the company, which controls the ITV franchise in NI, reported a £2.6m fall in pre-tax profit.

More than 60% of the company's turnover and the majority of its profit now comes from its radio businesses.

Net finance costs were reduced by 10% to £2.7m during the first-half of 2010 at the company.

Diluted adjusted earnings per share were up 16% to 7.36p from 6.32p and UTV declared an interim dividend of 1p.

The group said the decline in Irish radio revenue has been arrested, with growth of 3% anticipated in the third quarter.

UTV chief executive John McCann welcomed the news.

"The first six months of 2010 saw a better trading performance due to the improving economic environment and the stimulus of the World Cup and this improvement appears to be continuing," he said.