British broadcaster ITV posts surging profits
British commercial broadcaster ITV said on Wednesday that first-half net profits leapt 90 percent on rising revenues and lower costs, and declared its first shareholder dividend since 2009.
Earnings after taxation rallied to £135 million ($221 million, 153 million euros) in the six months to the end of June, compared with £71 million in the same part of last year, ITV said in a results statement.
ITV airs popular reality shows 'Britain's Got Talent' and 'X Factor', as well as long-running soap opera 'Coronation Street' and hit period drama 'Downton Abbey.'
Profits before taxation and exceptional items soared 86 percent to £204 million in the first half, beating market expectations of £192.3 million.
Revenues meanwhile rose 4.1 percent to £1.03 billion and the company added that its cost-saving programme was on track to deliver £15 million of savings this year.
ITV also delivered an interim shareholder dividend of 0.4 pence a share -- which was the group's first payout since March 2009, after a difficult two years in the wake of the sharp global economic downturn.
The broadcaster, which is undergoing a five-year plan to transform its fortunes, was rocked by Britain's record-length recession, which ended in late 2009 after causing a slump in advertising revenues as companies slashed budgets.
"We're now one year into our five-year transformation plan and making good progress on delivering our strategy of creating great content and exploiting it across multiple platforms and selling it internationally," ITV chief executive Adam Crozier said in the earnings release.
"As today's results show, our focus on costs, cash generation and improving the efficiency of our balance sheet gives us an increasingly strong financial base from which to drive our strategy forward."
© 2011 AFP