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Granada forewarns of sales slip

Lack of premium events cited

LONDON — Granada Media has warned that sales for the next six months will fall short of previous forecasts.

In a trading statement issued Wednesday, the ITV network’s biggest company said advertising sales will be up 6% for the second half of the year ending Sept. 30, down from 11% for the first six months.

The news hit Granada’s share price, down 12.9% at close. Granada shares dropped 9% Tuesday after Merrill Lynch predicted a downturn.

Granada said last year’s Euro 2000 soccer tournament and the Rugby World Cup had boosted premium advertising, but that no similar events are on the horizon. The company pointed out that sales for the year will be 8.4%, ahead of ITV overall.

Analysts, however, noted that ITV’s ratings are presently in decline.

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