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UTV Radio publish trading update

Ulster Television today publish an update regarding the trading and integration of UTV Radio (formerly The Wireless Group).

John McCann, Group Chief Executive, said: ?We are very pleased with the performance of UTV Radio, especially talkSPORT where revenues are well ahead of last year. With the football World Cup in 2006, we anticipate continued growth at UTV Radio and we look forward to the launch of Talk 107 in Edinburgh on 14 February.?

Below is the report in full:

On 6 June 2005, UTV took operational control of the Wireless Group, which it had acquired for ?97m, and which comprises one UK national talk station (talkSPORT) and 16 independent local radio stations. Given the scale of this transaction, the purpose of this release is to inform the market of the progress which has been made in the six months to date.

? Senior Management changes have been implemented and a new team, under the leadership of one of UTV?s existing executives, Scott Taunton, is now in place at the re-named UTV Radio.

? Cost synergies have been instituted to achieve the estimated savings of ?1.5m net in the first full calendar year of ownership.

? First Radio Sales Ltd, our joint venture sales house with the Local Radio Company, is now selling the national airtime for our local radio stations which together with its existing client base now totals 117 local stations across the U.K.

? The financial reporting systems and internal controls of UTV Radio are fully aligned and integrated with those in the rest of The UTV Group.

? In the six month period to 31 December 2005, revenue at UTV Radio is expected to be up by approximately 5%, which should comfortably outperform the radio advertising market in Great Britain.

In our other divisions, trading in the second half of 2005 is broadly in line with expectations. The television advertising marketplace remains difficult and revenue from this source is expected to be down by about 3.5% in the six months to 31 December 2005, although cost savings will mitigate this reduction. Advertising revenue in our Irish radio stations continues to enjoy good growth and should be up by approximately 16% in the second half.

In 2005 we expect to write off costs of about ?0.6m, including pre-operational expenditure of ?0.4m, in our new radio station in Belfast, which launched successfully on 14 November 2005. Strong revenue growth of at least 50% should be achievable in our new media division in the second half of the current year.

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