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Ulster T.V. PLC (UTV)

  Print      Mail a friend       Annual reports

Monday 18 September, 2000

Ulster T.V. PLC

Interim Results

Ulster Television PLC
18 September 2000


ULSTER TELEVISION plc

INTERIM FINANCIAL RESULTS - JUNE 2000



Highlights :-

*  Group operating profit up 24% to £6.7m (1999 : £5.4m)
*  Television operating profit up 33% to £7.2m (1999 : £5.4m)
*  Group turnover up 11% to £20.4m (1999 : £18.5m)
*  Adjusted earnings per share up 23% to 8.90p (1999 : 7.24p)
*  Interim dividend up 16% to 3.6p (1999 : 3.1p)
*  Remaining investment in S.E.S. sold on 16 February 2000 resulting
   in a profit before tax of £13.4m
*  Acquisition on 2 March 2000 of UTV Internet Ltd (formally Direct
   Net Access Ltd ) the leading internet service provider in Northern
   Ireland


Key Dates :-

29 September 2000 :record date for payment of dividend

6 October 2000 :payment of dividend


For Further Information :-



John McCann  Ulster Television plc               028 90262201
                                                 
Jim Downey   Ulster Television plc               028 90262176
                                                 
Bobby Leach  Shandwick                           020 7329 0096


ULSTER TELEVISION plc

CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT

Financial Results
Group operating profit for the 6 months increased by 24% to £6.7m (1999:
£5.4m) and was after writing off goodwill of £145k (1999 : £Nil) and
losses from UTV Internet Limited of £342k (1999 : £Nil).  Television
operating profit of £7.2m (1999: £5.4m) was up by 33%.  The sale of our
entire holding of 139,000 shares in Societe Europeene des Satellites
(SES) on 16 February generated an exceptional profit of £13.4m which,
together with net interest of £275k (1999 : £511k), resulted in a profit
before taxation of £20.4m (1999: £2.0m, after restructuring costs of
£4.2m).  Taxation of £6.2m included a charge of £4.0m in respect of the
exceptional item (1999 : £0.6m included a £1.3m credit  in respect of
the exceptional item.)  Adjusted earnings per share increased by 23% to
8.90p (1999 : 7.24p).

Interim Dividend
Your Board has declared an interim dividend of 3.60p (1999 : 3.10p).
This represents a 16% increase over the comparable period last year
reflecting your Board's intention to grow the dividend commensurate with
the enhanced operating profitability of the Company and the need to
retain funds for further investment.  The dividend will be paid on 6
October 2000 to all shareholders on the Register at the close of
business on 29 September 2000.

Turnover
Group turnover for the period increased by 11% to £20.4m (1999 :
£18.5m).  Advertising and sponsorship income increased by 12% to £20.0m
(1999 : £17.9m) accounting for over 97% of Group turnover.  The
comparable network increase of 14% was skewed by the exceptional
performances of the London ITV companies where the market grew by over
20%.  Excluding those companies, ITV revenue increased by 12% in the
first six months.

Our sales house, TSMS, was acquired by Granada Media Group as part of
the television assets of United News and Media.  TSMS is expected to be
subsumed into the sales house of Granada Media and, therefore, will
cease to exist as a separate entity.  The two ITV sales houses, Granada
Media and Carlton, have each expressed their willingness to enter into
new contractual arrangements in respect of our airtime sales.  We expect
to conclude an agreement shortly and, in the meantime, are satisfied
that TSMS, in consultation with their new owners, will maintain
sufficient resources to ensure the continuation of effective selling
arrangements on our behalf.

Internet
As I reported previously, we acquired UTV Internet Ltd (formerly Direct
Net Access Ltd) in March this year for £4.4m (including costs).  Our
intention was to re-brand and re-launch this Northern Ireland based
internet service provider as an all-Ireland ISP offering a broad range
of services to both businesses and consumers.  We invested in additional
equipment and people to support our objectives and launched UTV Internet
on 7 June.    Initially, we are targetting the consumer market but we
are concurrently developing business propositions which we will launch
later this year.  Turnover for the four months to 30 June 2000 was £347k
and the net loss for that period was £342k.  This was in line with our
business plan which includes a marketing budget for year 1 of £1.2m, of
which £0.3m had been expended by 30 June 2000.

Prospects
The strong ITV advertising revenue performance of the first six months
has not been sustained into the third quarter and indications are that
ITV will be marginally down in those three months.

The nature of our market, with its strong regional focus, should ensure
that the effects of the downturn in the second half at network level,
are mitigated by the continuing strong growth in the economy in Ireland.
We would expect, therefore, to see some improvement in our share of ITV
advertising revenue in the latter six months of the year.  Our share for
the full year should be maintained, and perhaps improved upon.

We continue to maintain a very tight control over our costs and I can
reaffirm my earlier statement of 9 March that total television operating
costs in 2000 should be contained at about the 1999 level, a reduction
in real terms.

Our objective is to achieve a 60,000 subscriber base for UTV Internet by
June 2001. Since launching in June we have doubled our initial customer
base to just under 20,000 currently and are on course to achieve our
full year target.

Board
Lord Antrim retired from our Board on 3 February 2000 after many years
of distinguished service to the Company.  I am indebted to him for the
sage advice which he brought to our deliberations throughout my
Chairmanship and, on behalf of his colleagues, I wish him every
happiness in his retirement.



J B McGuckian
Chairman
18 September 2000


Ulster Television plc

Group Profit & Loss Account
For the six months ended 30 June 2000

                                          Unaudited              Audited
                                      Six months ended         Year Ended
                                           30 June             31 December
                          Notes        2000            1999            1999
                                      £'000           £'000           £'000
                                                              
Turnover                                                      
Continuing Operations                                         
Ongoing                              20,096          18,487          38,340
Acquisition - UTV                                                          
Internet Ltd                            347               0               0
                                    -------    ------------    ------------
Group turnover            2          20,443          18,487          38,340
                                   --------    -----------     ------------
Operating profit                                                           
Continuing Operations                                                      
Ongoing                               7,214           5,441          11,866
Acquisition - UTV                                                          
Internet Ltd                          (342)               0               0
Group operating profit              -------    ------------    ------------
before amortisation of                                                     
goodwill                              6,872           5,441          11,866
Amortisation of goodwill  3           (145)               0               0
Group operating profit              -------    ------------    ------------
                                      6,727           5,441               -
                                                                     11,866
Exceptional Items                                                          
Profit on disposal of     4         -------    ------------    ------------
listed investment                    13,378               0               0
Fundamental               4               0         (4,179)         (4,827)
restructuring costs
                                    -------    ------------    ------------
                                     13,378         (4,179)         (4,827)
Investment income                         0             212             212
Interest receivable                     362             511             563
Interest payable                       (88)               0               0
                                    -------     -----------    ------------
Profit on ordinary                                                         
activities before                                                          
taxation                             20,379           1,985           7,814
                                    -------    ------------    ------------
Taxation on profit on                                                      
ordinary activities                 (6,116)           (582)         (2,213)
                                    -------    ------------    ------------
Profit for the period                14,263           1,403           5,601
                                                                           
Ordinary dividends                  (1,892)         (1,629)         (3,941)
Special dividend                          0        (18,391)        (18,391)
                                  ---------      ----------     -----------
Transfer to/(from)                                                         
reserves                             12,371        (18,617)        (16,731)
                                  =========    ============    ============
                                                                           
Earnings per share                                                         
Diluted                   5          26.58p           2.67p          10.66p
Basic (FRS 14)            5          27.14p           2.67p          10.66p
Adjusted                  5           8.90p           7.24p          16.04p
Diluted Adjusted          5           8.68p           7.24p          16.04p
                                   --------    ------------    ------------
                                                                           
Dividend per share                   03.60p           3.10p           7.50p
                                   --------    ------------    ------------
                                                                           
                                                                           
Recognised gains and losses                                                   
   

There are no recognised gains or losses in any of the above periods other
than those set out in the group profit and loss account



Ulster Television plc

Group Balance Sheet
                                 Unaudited       Unaudited          Audited
                                   30 June         30 June      31 December
                       Notes          2000            1999             1999
                                     £'000           £'000            £'000
Fixed Assets                                                 
Tangible assets                      6,965           6,445            6,595
Intangible assets -    3             4,181               0                0
goodwill
Investments                              1             700              700
                              ------------    ------------     ------------
                                    11,147           7,145            7,295
                              ------------    ------------     ------------
Current assets                                                             
Stocks                               1,448           1,203            1,168
Debtors                              6,381           5,040            5,875
Short-term cash                     15,235           3,500              150
deposits
Cash at bank and in                                                        
hand                                 2,528           1,594            2,881
                               -----------    ------------     ------------
                                    25,592          11,337           10,074
                                                                           
Creditors - due                                                            
within one year                   (15,285)        (14,945)         (11,991)
                              ------------     -----------     ------------
Net current                                        (3,608)          (1,917)
assets/(liabilities)                10,307
                              ------------     -----------     ------------
Total assets less                                                          
current liabilities                 21,454           3,537            5,378
                                                                           
Creditors - due after                                                      
one year
Convertible loan       6           (3,750)               0                0
notes
Amounts due for film                 (175)           (273)            (194)
rights
                                                                           
Provision for                                                              
liabilities and                      (291)           (283)            (317)
charges
                              ------------     -----------    -------------
Net assets                          17,238           2,981            4,867
                              ------------     -----------    -------------
                                                                           
Shareholders' funds                                                        
Called-up equity                     2,627           2,627            2,627
share capital
Share premium account                  125             125              125
Profit and loss                                                            
account                             14,486             229            2,115
                              ------------    ------------     ------------
Equity shareholders'   7                                                   
funds                               17,238           2,981            4,867
                               -----------    ------------     ------------
                                                             


Ulster Television plc

Statement of Group Cash Flows
For the six months ended 30 June 2000
                                        Unaudited                   
                                     Six months ended           Audited
                                         30 June             Year Ended 31
                                                                December
                                   2000            1999           1999
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                                                             
                         Notes    £'000              £'000            £'000
                                                             
Net cash inflow from                                                       
operating activities     8         18,967            2,091            5,910
                                                                           
Returns on investments                                                     
and servicing of                                                           
finance                               315              903              959
                                                                           
Taxation                            (737)            (399)          (4,050)
                                                                           
Capital expenditure                 (931)          (1,306)          (1,964)
                                                                           
Acquisitions                        (650)               0                0
                                                                           
Cash acquired with                                                         
subsidiary undertaking                 80               0                0
                                                                           
Equity dividends paid             (2,312)         (20,230)         (21,859)
                                ---------     ------------     ------------
                                                                           
Change in net funds                14,732         (18,941)         (21,004)
                                                                           
(Increase)/Decrease in                                                     
cash on deposit                  (15,085)           18,479           21,829
                                ---------     ------------     ------------
(Decrease)/increase in                                                     
cash                                (353)            (462)              825
                                ---------     ------------     ------------
                                                                           
                                                                           
Reconciliation of net                                                      
cashflow to movement in
net funds
                                    £'000            £'000            £'000
                                                                           
(Decrease)/increase in                                                     
cash in year                        (353)            (462)              825
                                                                           
Cash outflow/(inflow)                                                      
from
increase/(decrease)
in cash on deposit                 15,085         (18,479)         (21,829)
                                ---------     ------------     ------------
                                                                           
                                                                           
Change in net funds                14,732         (18,941)         (21,004)
                                                                           
Opening net funds                   3,031           24,035           24,035
                                ---------     ------------     ------------
Closing net funds                  17,763            5,094            3,031
                                ---------     ------------     ------------

Ulster Television plc

Notes to the Unaudited Interim Financial Information

1.   Basis of preparation
     The interim financial information has been prepared on the basis of
     the accounting policies set out in the Company's 1999 statutory
     accounts.

     Although the interim results are unaudited the auditors have
     carried out a review and their report to the Company is set out in
     this Interim Statement. The results for the year ended 31 December,
     1999 are an abridged extract of the Company's full accounts which
     have been filed with the registrar of Companies and on which the
     auditors have issued an unqualified report. The financial
     information contained in this Statement does not constitute full
     accounts within the meaning of Article 262 of the Companies
     (Northern Ireland) Order 1986.


2.   Segmental analysis
     The group operates in two principal areas of activity, commercial
     television and internet. Turnover is generated principally from the
     UK and Ireland and is set out below. The analysis of operating
     profit is shown in the group profit and loss account.



                                    Continuing Operations
                                                       
                                              Inter-          Sales to
                              Total        segmental             Third
Area of Activity              Sales            Sales           Parties
                              £'000            £'000             £'000
TURNOVER                                               
Six months ended 30                                    
June 2000
Television                   20,296            (200)            20,096
Internet                        347                0               347
                       ------------     ------------    --------------
Total                        20,643            (200)            20,443
                       ============    =============    ==============
Six months ended 30                                                   
June 1999
Television                   18,487                0            18,487
Internet                          0                0                 0
                        -----------     ------------     -------------
Total                        18,487                0            18,487
                       ============    =============    ==============
                                                                      
Year ended 31                                                         
December 1999
Television                   38,340                0            38,340
Internet                          0                0                 0
                                                                      
Total                        38,340                0            38,340
                       ============     ============     =============


3.   Goodwill
     Goodwill arising from the purchase of UTV Internet Ltd (formerly
     Direct Net Access Ltd) is being amortised over its estimated useful
     life.

4.   Exceptional items
     Profit on disposal of listed investment On 16 February 2000 the
     Company sold its remaining shareholding in Societe Europeenne des
     Satellites for £14,077,000 resulting in a profit of £13,378,000.
     The taxation on the capital gain arising amounts to £3,982,000.

     Fundamental restructuring costs
     In 1999 the Company undertook a review of its operations following
     the renewal of its licence. This review resulted in a major
     restructuring of the workforce and related cost structure of the
     Company.  The costs associated with this restructuring for the 6
     months to 30 June 1999 totalled £4.2m (12 months to 31 December
     1999 : £4.8m).


5.   Earnings per share
                                 Six months ended           Year ended
                                     30 June                31 December
                                                          
                                  2000            1999            1999
                                     p               p               P
                                                         
                                                         
Diluted earnings per share       26.58            2.67           10.66
Adjustments:                                                          
To reflect the dilutive                                               
potential of the Employee
Share Option Scheme
                                                                      
                                  0.13            0.00            0.00
To reflect the dilutive                                               
potential of the
Convertible Loan Notes
                                                                      
                                  0.43            0.00            0.00
                            ----------    ------------   -------------
Basic (FRS 14) earnings                                               
per share                        27.14            2.67           10.66
Adjustments:                                                          
Exceptional restructuring                                             
costs                             0.00            7.95            9.18
Profit on disposal of                                                 
listed investment              (25.46)            0.00            0.00
Investment income               (0.52)          (1.38)          (1.47)
Taxation relating to the                                              
above items                       7.74          (2.00)          (2.33)
                             ---------     -----------    ------------
Adjusted earnings per                                                 
share                             8.90            7.24           16.04
Adjustments:                                                          
To reflect the dilutive                                               
potential of the Employee
Share Option Scheme
                                                                      
                                (0.05)            0.00            0.00
To reflect the dilutive                                               
potential of the
Convertible Loan Notes
                                                                      
                                (0.17)            0.00            0.00
                            ----------     -----------   -------------
Diluted adjusted earnings                                             
per share                         8.68            7.24           16.04
                            ==========     ============    =============



6. Convertible loan notes

Convertible loan notes amounting to £3.75m were issued as part
consideration for the acquisition of UTV Internet Ltd (formally Direct Net
Access Ltd) and bear interest at Northern Bank base rate plus 0.45%.  The
loan notes are convertible into ordinary shares of 5p each fully paid in
the Company on the basis of one ordinary share for each £2.30 of nominal
value of loan notes.

7. Reconciliation of movements in shareholders' funds

                                    Six months ended         Year ended
                                         30 June             31 December
                                                           
                                       2000           1999            1999
                                      £'000          £'000           £'000
                                                             
Opening Balance                       4,867         21,598          21,598
Profit for the period                14,263          1,403           5,601
Dividends                           (1,892)       (20,020)        (22,332)
                               ------------    -----------    ------------
                                     17,238          2,981           4,867
                               ============    ===========    ============
                                                                          


8.   Reconciliation of operating profit to net cashflow from operating
     activities

                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                              Year ended
                                                              31 December
                                                                   
                                      Six months ended
                                          30 June
                                        2000          1999            1999
                                       £'000         £'000           £'000
                                                             
Operating profit                       6,872         5,441          11,866
Depreciation charges                     631           564           1,149
(Profit)/loss on sale of                                                  
tangible fixed assets                   (18)             2            (24)
(Increase)/decrease in                                                    
stocks                                 (277)            99             134
(Increase)/decrease in                                                    
debtors                                (318)           548           (278)
Decrease in creditors                  (746)       (3,463)         (2,783)
Decrease in provisions                  (26)         (487)           (555)
                              --------------    ----------    ------------
                                                                          
                                                                          
                                       6,118         2,704           9,509
Exceptional items                                                         
- restructuring costs                (1,228)         (613)         (3,599)
                                                                          
- sale of investments                 14,077             0               0
                               -------------    ----------    ------------
                                                                          
Net cash inflow from                                                      
operating activities                  18,967         2,091           5,910
                              ==============    ==========    ============