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30/11/2000

GRANADA MEDIA’S PROFITS RISE

REPORTING their first set of figures since the 20 per cent flotation in July 2000 Granada Media have stabilised their broadcasting and production operations while investing in new digital businesses.
Figures included in the Chairman’s Statement place Granada Media operating profit from their mainstream Broadcast and Productions businesses, at £253 million, improved by eight per cent, and adjusted earnings per share rose to 13.8 pence.
With the creation of a new, independently quoted, FTSE 100 pure media company, a full demerger from Granada Compass’s hospitality interests is planned for the first quarter of 2001.
In addition they received OFT approval to merge Granada’s and Thorn’s high street TV and video rental businesses. The creation of Boxclever, the merged company, was completed in June, giving Granada a 50 per cent share of the new business and releasing £511 million in cash.
Following the completion of the Boxclever merger in June and their Initial Public Offering in July, the Company ended the year in a strong financial position, with £1.9 billion of net cash.
The £1.75 billion acquisition of United News & Media’s television assets was approved by shareholders at the end of the financial year and is expected to be complete by the end of January 2001.
Having reached 878 thousand subscribers in September 2000 ONdigital are well on their way to meet their target of 1 million by the year end. The report did not disclose any details on the expected floatation of ONdigital.
Quoted in the overall Business Review Granada Media reported a 10 per cent programme turnover and the educational division turnover rose from £16 million to £22 million.
ITV also continues to be Britain’s most popular broadcaster, achieving a 38.8 per cent peak time share in the 1999 calendar year. During the summer of 2000 ITV’s ratings were lower, reflecting one-off events such as the Olympics on the BBC, and Channel 4’s ‘Big Brother’. But ITV have recovered this autumn with an improved schedule and better marketing, delivering a 39 per cent peak time share in October.
In October, Granada made an agreement with Carlton to acquire their 20 per cent stake in Meridian and to sell HTV to Carlton. The transaction is expected to be complete immediately after the United transaction, and Carlton will pay Granada £181 million in cash.
(CD)
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