Carlton sees year-end growth

Carlton Communications, the British conglomerate that owns Technicolor, posted a 15% improvement in net income, to T102.3 million ($ 161 million), and a 17% rise in gross revenues, to T702 million ($ 1.1 billion), for the year ended Sept. 30.

But the upbeat figures didn’t impress the London stock market, which had already marked up Carlton shares in anticipation of strong results and, per analysts, was hoping for something more.

In fact, Carlton stock fell yesterday from 719 pence to 717 pence, giving the company a market value of T1.4 billion ($ 2.2 billion).

The company, which embraces broadcast TV, production services, video duplication, film processing and electronic editing systems, has weathered the storms of recession with ease. This year marks the 10th consecutive year in which the dividend to shareholders, now 17 pence, has been increased.

Per analysts, Carlton has increased its spending on research and development while pouring $ 63 million into its new ITV franchise, $ 60 million into capital expenditure (including new equipment for Technicolor) and $ 30 million into its most recent acquisition, video distributor Pickwick. Yet the company still has net cash of $ 170 million.

The ITV franchise, which starts Jan. 1, is expected to soak up a further $ 80 million before earnings start flowing back into the company in the middle of next year.

Thereafter, Carlton is expected to accumulate a cash pile to be used for future acquisition of companies, probably including other franchise-holders in U.K. TV.

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