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Ulster T.V. PLC (UTV)

  Print      Mail a friend       Annual reports

Monday 17 September, 2001

Ulster T.V. PLC

Interim Results

Ulster Television PLC
17 September 2001

                            ULSTER TELEVISION plc

                    INTERIM FINANCIAL RESULTS - JUNE 2001

Ulster Television ('UTV') today announces its interim results for the period
ended 30 June 2001:


Acquisition on 12 April 2001 of 60% of County Media Limited, a radio
broadcasting business based in Cork.

Impact of UK advertising downturn mitigated by contribution from radio
acquisition, network outperformance and continued cost control.

Group operating profit before amortisation of goodwill increased to £6.90m
(2000: £6.87m).

Group turnover up 2.0% to £20.85m (2000: £20.44m).

Television advertising and sponsorship income down by 4.9% to £18.80m (2000: 
£19.77m), compared to an estimated 15% downturn in total ITV advertising.

Share of ITV advertising market increased to a record 2.13% (2000: 1.91%).

Group profit before tax, exceptional item and amortisation of goodwill at £
7.00m (2000: £7.15m).

Adjusted earnings per share up 1.4% to 9.30p (2000: 9.17p).

Interim dividend up 5.6% to 3.80p (2000: 3.60p).

Key Dates:
28 September 2001 -         record date for payment of dividend

5 October 2001 -            Payment of dividend

For Further Information:
John McCann            Ulster Television plc                 028 9026 2201
(Managing Director)

Jim Downey             Ulster Television plc                 028 9026 2176
(Finance Director)

Sarah Moriarty         Weber Shandwick                       020 7329 0096

Chairman's Statement

Financial Results

Group operating profit before amortisation of goodwill increased to £6.90m
(2000: £6.87m) with a £0.43m reduction in television operating profit to £
6.78m (2000 : £7.21m) being offset by a £0.49m operating profit contribution
from our radio acquisition in April 2001. The operating loss from UTV Internet
was £0.38m which compared with a slightly lower loss of £0.34m for the four
month period in 2000. With a reduction of £0.17m in net interest receivable,
the group profit before tax, amortisation of goodwill and exceptional item was
£7.00m (2000: £7.15m). Adjusted earnings per share were 9.30p (2000: 9.17p).

Interim Dividend

Your Board has declared an interim dividend of 3.80p (2000 : 3.60p) which
represents a 5.6% increase over last year. The dividend will be paid on 5
October 2001 to all shareholders on the Register at the close of business on
28 September 2001.


The year to date has been characterised by the already widely-reported
slowdown in global advertising expenditure. At our Annual General Meeting in
June 2001 I reported that despite positive market conditions in Ireland we
would not be immune to a reduction in national advertising budgets in ITV.

In the six months under review, television advertising and sponsorship income
decreased by £0.97m to £18.80m (2000: £19.77m). This represented a 4.9%
reduction over the comparable period last year. Nevertheless, in the context
of an estimated 15% downturn in total ITV advertising, this was a creditable
outperformance of the network which gave us a record 2.13% (2000: 1.91%) share
of the total ITV market.

We had set ourselves the objective of containing our total television
operating costs at the same level as 2000, a challenging goal in light of the
significant cost reductions achieved over the previous two years. I am pleased
to report that we improved upon our own targets, thereby maintaining our
television operating margin and substantially offsetting the decline in
revenue. This performance resulted in television operating profit of £6.78m
for the period, £0.43m lower than the figure for last year.


The acquisition of 60% of County Media Limited was completed on 12 April 2001
and the results for the period since that date are consolidated in these

Local radio advertising revenue in Ireland has not been subject to the same
downward pressures experienced elsewhere in the global media market and growth
in radio advertising for County Media in the period from acquisition to 30
June 2001 was 6.3%.

County Media operating profit before goodwill amortisation in the period was £
0.49m on turnover of £1.29m. Audited accounts of County Media Limited for the
year ended 31 December 2000 showed operating profits before goodwill
amortisation of IR£2.3m on turnover of IR£6.4m.

County Media's three radio stations in Cork City and County continue to enjoy
a commanding share of listenership in the region. The latest Joint National
Listenership Research findings published in August 2001 showed that 96FM
averaged a 58% share of listenership and a 63% reach while 103FM averaged 47%
and 55% respectively.


The operating loss in UTV Internet of £0.38m compared to a loss of £0.34m in
the four month period last year. Despite the difficult market conditions
experienced by many internet businesses, UTV Internet increased its total
subscriber base by over 25% in the first six months of 2001. These
subscribers, now exceeding 40,000, are a broad base of both business and
residential customers, across the island of Ireland.

The UTV website continued to support our on-screen programming and news
provision and now delivers over 1.2 million pages per month, double the number
of six months ago.

Channel Three News Limited

The consortium company comprising 20% holdings by each of Bloomberg, BSkyB,
CBS, Chrysalis and Ulster Television applied for, and achieved, nominated news
provider status thus enabling it to enter into competition with ITN for the
provision of ITV's national and international news service. Channel Three News
subsequently responded to ITV's tender process by submitting an application
based upon a high quality and innovative news service at a competitive price.
The application is currently being considered by the ITV Network Centre.


Despite consumer spending in the UK remaining strong, uncertainties about the
global economy continue to dampen expectations of growth in television
advertising revenue. In this environment, the market has adopted a short term
focus and, with advertisers wary of forward commitment, it is increasingly
difficult to forecast advertising revenue. Many industry observers are
predicting that a return to growth is not likely until 2002 and, for budgeting
purposes, we have adopted this cautious approach. Nevertheless, we do expect
to continue to outperform the ITV network average and to end the year with an
improved share over 2000. Cost control will continue to be a key factor in the
second half of 2001.

By its nature, the market in local radio advertising tends to be short term,
but our stations in Cork continue to experience positive growth and, at this
stage, we expect to achieve improved profitability.

We signalled our intention to bring our internet business to profitability
earlier than originally forecast and we are on target to move into profit in
the second half of this year.

J B McGuckian


17 September 2001

Ulster Television plc

Group Profit & Loss Account
For the six months ended 30 June 2001               Unaudited        Audited
                                                   Six months       Year Ended
                                                      ended        31 December
                                                     30 June                    
                                                   2001      2000          2000
                                       Notes      £'000     £'000         £'000
Continuing Operations
Ongoing                                          19,561    20,443        40,818
Acquisition - County Media                        1,292         0             0
                                                 ______    ______        ______
Group turnover                           2       20,853    20,443        40,818
                                                  =====     =====         =====
Operating profit
Continuing Operations
Ongoing                                           6,408     6,872        13,415
Acquisition - County Media                          490         0             0
                                             ---------- --------- -------------
Group operating profit before                     6,898     6,872        13,415
amortisation of goodwill
Amortisation of goodwill
Continuing Operations
Ongoing                                           (216)     (145)         (360)
Acquisition - County Media                        (368)         0             0
                                                 ______    ______        ______
                                         3        (584)     (145)         (360)
Group operating profit
Continuing Operations
Ongoing                                           6,192     6,727        13,055
Acquisition - County Media                          122         0             0
                                                 ______    ______        ______
                                         2        6,314     6,727        13,055
Exceptional item - profit on disposal    4            0    13,378        13,378
of listed investment
Interest receivable                                 379       362           799
Interest payable                                  (280)      (88)         (219)
                                                 ______    ______        ______
Profit on ordinary activities before              6,413    20,379        27,013
Taxation on profit on ordinary                  (2,055)   (6,116)       (7,933)
                                                 ______    ______        ______
Profit for the period                             4,358    14,263        19,080
Ordinary dividends                              (1,997)   (1,892)       (4,572)
                                                 ______    ______        ______
Transfer to reserves                              2,361    12,371        14,508
                                                  =====     =====         =====
Earnings per share                       5
Diluted                                           8.21p    26.71p        35.68p
Basic (FRS 14)                                    8.29p    27.14p        36.31p
Adjusted                                          9.30p     9.17p        18.34p
Diluted adjusted                                  9.02p     8.99p        17.88p
                                                  =====     =====         =====
Dividend per share                                3.80p     3.60p         8.70p
                                                  =====     =====         =====
Statement of Recognised Gains and
Profit for the financial period                   4,358    14,263        19,080
Exchange difference on retranslation              (368)         0             0
of net assets of subsidiary
                                                 ______    ______        ______
Recognised gains for the period                   3,990    14,263        19,080
                                                  =====     =====         =====

Ulster Television plc
Group Balance Sheet
                                              Unaudited  Unaudited      Audited
                                                30 June    30 June  31 December
                                      Notes        2001       2000         2000
                                                  £'000      £'000        £'000
Fixed Assets
Tangible assets                                   7,675      6,965        7,262
Intangible assets - goodwill            3        27,385      4,181        3,965
Investments                                           1          1            1
                                                _______    _______      _______
                                                 35,061     11,147       11,228
                                                _______    _______      _______
Current assets
Stocks                                            2,232      1,448        2,207
Debtors                                           7,995      6,381        6,985
Short-term cash deposits                          9,148     15,235       14,736
Cash at bank and in hand                          1,155      2,528        3,141
                                                _______    _______      _______
                                                 20,530     25,592       27,069
Creditors - due within one year
Creditors                                      (13,016)   (15,285)     (14,786)
Debentures                              6      (17,116)          0            0
                                                _______    _______      _______
                                               (30,132)   (15,285)     (14,786)
Net current (liabilities)/assets                (9,602)     10,307       12,283
                                                _______    _______      _______
Total assets less current liabilities            25,459     21,454       23,511
Creditors - due after one year
Convertible loan notes                  7       (3,750)    (3,750)      (3,750)
Amounts due for film rights                       (289)      (175)        (329)
Provision for liabilities and charges              (52)      (291)         (57)
                                                _______    _______      _______
Net assets                              2        21,368     17,238       19,375
                                                =======    =======      =======
Shareholders' funds
Called-up equity share capital                    2,627      2,627        2,627
Share premium account                               125        125          125
Revenue reserves                                 18,616     14,486       16,623
                                                _______    _______      _______
Equity shareholders' funds              8        21,368     17,238       19,375
                                                =======    =======      =======

Ulster Television plc
Statement of Group Cash Flows
For the six months ended 30 June 2001
                                           Unaudited               Audited
                                           Six Months ended        Year Ended
                                               30 June             31 December
                                               2001          2000          2000
                               Notes          £'000         £'000         £'000
Net cash inflow from operating   9            5,777         4,890        11,167
Returns on investments and                      228           315           654
servicing of finance
Taxation                                    (3,245)         (737)       (4,436)
Capital expenditure &                         (646)        13,146        12,237
financial investment
Acquisitions                                (4,512)         (570)         (572)
Equity dividends paid                       (2,680)       (2,312)       (4,204)
                                     --------------   ----------- -------------
Cash (outflow)/inflow before use of         (5,078)        14,732        14,846
liquid resources and financing
Decrease/(increase) in cash on                5,415      (15,085)      (14,586)
Financing                                   (2,323)             0             0
                                     -------------- ------------- -------------
(Decrease)/increase in cash in              (1,986)         (353)           260
the period
                                           ========       =======       =======
Reconciliation of net cashflow
to movement in net debt
                                              £'000         £'000         £'000
(Decrease)/increase in cash in              (1,986)         (353)           260
the period
Cash (inflow)/outflow from                  (5,415)        15,085        14,586
(decrease)/increase in cash on
Repayment of loans and                        2,323             0             0
                                     -------------- ------------- -------------
Change in net debt arising                  (5,078)        14,732        14,846
from cash flows
Debentures/loan notes issued               (18,031)       (3,750)       (3,750)
on acquisitions
Loan acquired on acquisition                (2,343)             0             0
Translation difference                          383             0             0
                                     -------------- ------------- -------------
Movement in net (debt)/funds               (25,069)        10,982        11,096
in the period
Opening net funds                            14,127         3,031         3,031
                                     -------------- ------------- -------------
Closing net (debt)/funds                   (10,942)        14,013        14,127
                                           ========       =======       =======

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 2000 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 2000 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 three principal areas of activity - commercial
        television, internet and radio. Turnover is generated principally from
        the UK and Ireland with all radio activity generated in the Republic
        of Ireland. Turnover, group operating profit on ordinary activities
        before tax and net assets are analysed as follows:

                                    Total   Intersegmental              Sales to
                                    Sales           Sales
      Area of Activity                                             Third Parties
                                    £'000        £'000                     £'000
6 months ended June 30 2001
      Television                   19,022         (51)                    18,971

      Internet                        620         (30)                       590

      Radio                         1,320         (28)                     1,292

                                   ______         ____                    ______
      Total                        20,962        (109)                    20,853

                                   ======       ======                    ======
6 months ended June 30 2000
      Television                   20,296        (200)                    20,096

      Internet                        347           0                        347

      Radio                             0           0                          0

                                   ________      _____                    ______
      Total                        20,643        (200)                    20,443

                                   ========     ======                    ======
Year ended 31 December 2000
      Television                   40,412        (463)                    39,949

      Internet                        869           0                        869

      Radio                             0           0                          0

                                  _______       ______                    ______

      Total                        41,281        (463)                    40,818

                                  ========      ======                    ======




                                  Period ended     Period ended       Year ended
                                  30 June 2001     30 June 2000 31 December 2000
                                         £'000            £'000            £'000
Group operating profit before amortisation of goodwill
      Television                         6,784            7,214           14,256

      Internet                            (376)            (342)           (841)

      Radio                                490                0                0

                                       _______         ________         ________

      Total                              6,898            6,872           13,415

Amortisation of goodwill
      Television                             0                0                0

      Internet                           (216)            (145)            (360)

      Radio                              (368)                0                0

                                       _______          _______         ________
      Total                              (584)            (145)            (360)

Group operating profit
      Television                         6,784            7,214           14,256

      Internet                           (592)            (487)          (1,201)

      Radio                                122                0                0

                                       _______          _______        _________
      Total                              6,314            6,727           13,055

                                      ========           ======           ======

(c)         NET ASSETS
                               Period ended Period ended             Year ended
                               30 June 2001 30 June 2000       31 December 2000

                                      £'000      £'000                  £'000
            Television               10,765      8,083                  9,286
            Internet                   3,58        463                    186
            Radio                       140          0                      0

                                     ______   ________              _________
                                     11,263      8,546                  9,472
            Unallocated Net          10,105      8,692                  9,903
                                   ________   ________              _________
                                     21,368     17,238                 19,375

                                   ========   ========              =========

         Unallocated net assets comprise cash, short term cash deposits,
    investments, loan notes, debentures, taxation, goodwill and proposed

3.     Goodwill

         Goodwill arising from the purchase of UTV Internet Limited and County
    Media Limited is being amortised over estimated useful lives of 10 and 20
    years respectively.

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 amounted to £

5.     Earnings per share

         Basic earnings per share, in accordance with Financial Reporting
    Standard No14 (FRS 14), is calculated on the weighted average number of
    shares in issue during the period being 52,546,600 (June 2000 :
    52,546,600) and is based on the profit for the financial period after
    taxation of £4,358,000 (June 2000: £14,263,000).

         Diluted earnings per share is calculated on 54,177,035 shares (June
    2000 : 53,663,557 shares) reflecting the dilutive potential of the
    Convertible Loan Notes of 1,630,435 shares (June 2000 : 1,086,957 shares).
    The calculation is based on profit for the period of £4,447,000 (June 2000
    : £14,325,000) reflecting an adjustment for net interest payable on
    Convertible Loan Notes of £89,000 (June 2000 : £62,000).

         An adjusted earnings per share has been calculated to exclude the
    impact of profit on sale of investments, net interest receivable and
    goodwill amortisation. The adjusted earnings per share is based on
    operating profits and is intended to provide a comparable measure of
    historical performance.

                                                         Six months        Year
                                                            ended         ended
                                                           30 June           31
                                                         2001    2000      2000
                                                            P       p         p
 Diluted earnings per share                              8.21   26.71     35.68
 To reflect the dilutive potential of the Convertible
 Loan Notes
                                                         0.08    0.43      0.63

                                                       ______  ______   _______
 Basic (FRS 14) earnings per share                       8.29   27.14     36.31
 Profit on disposal of listed investment                 0.00 (25.46)   (25.46)
  Net interest receivable                              (0.18)  (0.52)    (1.10)
 Goodwill amortisation                                   1.11    0.27      0.68
 Taxation relating to the above items                    0.08    7.74      7.91
                                                       ______  ______    ______
 Adjusted earnings per share                             9.30    9.17     18.34
 To reflect the dilutive potential of the Convertible
 Loan Notes
                                                       (0.28)  (0.18)    (0.46)
                                                       ______  ______    ______
 Diluted adjusted earnings per share                     9.02    8.99     17.88
                                                       ======  ======    ======

6.     Debentures

        Debentures amounting to £IR23.10m were issued during the period as
        part consideration for the acquisition of County Media Limited bearing
        interest at Euribor minus 1% and during the period £IR0.51m of the
        guaranteed debentures were redeemed for cash. £IR10.98m of the
        debentures are guaranteed by Ulster Television plc.

7.     Convertible loan notes

        In the year 2000, Convertible loan notes amounting to £3.75m were
        issued as part consideration for the acquisition of UTV Internet
        Limited 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.

8. Reconciliation of movements in shareholders' funds
                                                     Six months ended     Year
                                                           30 June         31
                                                        2001     2000      2000
                                                       £'000    £'000     £'000
   Opening Balance                                    19,375    4,867     4,867
   Profit for the period                               4,358   14,263    19,080
   Dividends                                         (1,997)  (1,892)   (4,572)
   Exchange difference on retranslation of net
   assets of subsidiary undertaking                    (368)        0         0

                                                    ________ ________  ________
   Closing Balance                                    21,368   17,238    19,375
                                                    ======== ========  ========
9. Reconciliation of operating profit to net cashflow from operating activites

                                                     Six months ended      Year
                                                           30 June           31
                                                        2001      2000     2000
                                                       £'000     £'000    £'000
   Operating profit before amortiation of goodwill     6,898     6,872   13,415
   Depreciation charges                                  727       631    1,321
   Profit on sale of tangible fixed assets              (11)      (18)     (20)
   Increase in stocks                                   (25)     (277)  (1,036)
   Decrease/(increase) in debtors                        473     (318)    (935)
   Decrease in creditors                             (2,280)     (746)     (90)
   Decrease in provisions                                (5)      (26)    (260)
                                                      ______    ______ ________
                                                       5,777     6,118   12.395
   Exceptional items - restructuring costs                 0   (1,228)  (1,228)
                                                      ______    ______ ________
   Net cash inflow from operating activities           5,777     4,890   11,167
                                                      ======    ====== ========

a d v e r t i s e m e n t