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Half-year profits down at UTV Radio

talkSPORT owner UTV Media has seen an increase in both revenue and profits in their latest figures for the whole company, but the GB radio division’s profits are down £900,000 compared with 12 months ago.

Revenue for the six months to 30 June 2011 among talksport and the local radio network remained steady at £25.2m, with an operating profit of £5.8m.

The overall UTV Media company – which owns the ITV licence in Northern Ireland as well as radio stations in Ireland – made an overall pre-tax profit of £10.9m, according to the half-year figures published today. That’s up 15% on the same period in 2010.

John McCann, Group Chief Executive, UTV Media plc, said: “These are another robust set of results despite the challenging macroeconomic conditions. A 15% uplift in pre-tax profits, an 18% reduction in net debt and a significant increase in dividend all point to good progress being made in positioning the company for the upturn.”

Shareholders of UTV Media plc will be paid an interim dividend of 1.5p per share on 14th October. Last year, dividend was paid at 1p.

In Great Britain as well as talkSPORT, UTV owns stations including The Pulse, Signal, Peak FM, The Wolf, Wish FM, Wire FM, Tower FM, Juice FM in Liverpool, Radio Wave in Blackpool and The Wave in Swansea.

Operating costs for the GB radio division were up £800,000 in the six-month period to £19.4m, with the company saying World Cup cost savings were more than offset by increased investment in programming and presenters at talkSPORT. The firm added that the result has been increased audiences. The group says it expects to see a revenue increase of 14% at talkSPORT and 2% across the local radio station portfolio in the three-month period running to the end of September.

Revenue at the group’s radio stations in the Republic of Ireland, meanwhile – which include Dublin’s Q102 and Cork’s 96FM – was down 4% to £11m, while the operating profit was down slightly to £3m.

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