Granada sees profit rise 35%

LONDON — Granada, the British TV and leisure group, saw its pre-tax profits soar 35% to £650 million ($1.1 billion) in the year to September, with sales up 7% to $6.95 billion.

Granada’s television interests, comprising mainly the regional ITV stations Granada TV, LWT and the recently acquired Yorkshire Tyne Tees TV, contributed a healthy 18% rise in operating profit to $320 million.

But the star performer was the company’s fast-expanding hotels and restaurants business, which posted a 41% rise to $955 million, fueled by the acquisition of the Forte hotel chain last year.

Granada chairman Gerry Robinson created some speculation about a possible demerger of the TV business by claiming that it is currently undervalued by the London Stock Market, because Granada is listed as a leisure rather than a media company. Robinson said demerger was not a short-term prospect, but did not rule it out in the future.

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