UTV posts £9m fall in profits

UTV's Belfast HQ Havelock House
UTV's Belfast HQ Havelock House

Difficulties establishing its TV operation in the Irish Republic contributed to a £9 milliin drop on pre-tax profits at UTV, its annual results reveal.

Despite a slight rise in overall revenues from £57.8m to £58.3m, the business reported a pre-tax profit of £1m compared to £10m the year before.

On Monday UTV confirmed it was in talks over the possible sale of its television assets.

Acknowledging the dispappointing figures, the Dublin TV venture lost £7.5m, chairman Richard Huntingford said there was much to be positive about.

“The challenges of establishing a new television channel are evident in these results which reflect the significant losses incurred by UTV Ireland in its first six months on air,” he said.

“Less evident... is the inherent value created by the establishment of a mainstream television channel in Europe’s fastest growing economy, with long term licensing, programme supply and infrastructure in place.”

“We are experiencing good growth from both our London and Dublin offices and this is expected to generate growth in Northern Ireland television advertising revenue of four per cent in the current quarter.”

In the province, he warned that the budget impasse was expected to “create a drag on our Northern Ireland television advertising revenue from Belfast in the third quarter.”