ITV Reports 30% Increase In Pre-Tax Profit For 2013; Still On The Hunt For Acquisitions

Britain’s ITV has been on a shopping spree in the past 18 months, acquiring controlling interests in production compaines in the U.S., the UK and the Nordics. Today, the UK’s leading private broadcaster announced its full-year results for the year ended December 31, 2013. Pre-tax profits are up 30% to £435M ($725.6M). External revenue was up 9% to £2.39B ($3.8B) and non-advertising revenue, a key indicator, grew to £1.21B, an increase of £175M. The home of Downton Abbey and The X Factor (to which Simon Cowell is returning later this year) had its best year-on-year performance in a decade with viewer share up 4%. Its production arm, ITV Studios, had 20% growth with operating profit up 24% to £133M. The division makes such shows as Mr Selfridge, expected to return for a third season, and last year’s Breathless. The company, which is nearing the home-stretch of a five-year transformation plan, will continue to look at acquisitions. A cost savings of £28M was delivered in 2013 with a target of a further £10M in 2014. The board is proposing an ordinary dividend of 2.4 pence to give a full-year dividend of 3.5 pence, up 35% — and a special dividend of 4 pence in line with last year. Non-advertising revenue is expected to be up 5% to 6% in the four months through April 2014. ITV CEO Adam Crozier said, “In 2014 we again expect all parts of the business to see further growth. In ITV Studios we anticipate good growth, primarily driven by the acquisitions we have made in the UK and internationally. In broadcast we have started the year with the announcement of two new channels — ITV Encore and ITVBe — and we expect to see double digit growth from online, pay and interactive.” The UK advertising market continues to show signs of improvement, and Crozier said ITV expects to “outperform our estimate of the television advertising market over the full year.”

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