Granada sees profits up 35%

But company reports a net loss of $21 mil

LONDON — Granada, one of the big two shareholders in Blighty commercial web ITV, announced Tuesday that pre-tax profits were up 35% to £65 million ($107 million) for the first six months ended March 31, excluding losses incurred by the now defunct ITV Digital.

But company reported a net loss of $21 million, after exceptional costs including an $123 million writedown on its stake in Scottish Media Group, which owns Scottish TV and Grampian TV franchises.

Granada made a half-year loss last year of $278 million as a result of the collapse of ITV Digital in which Granada and fellow ITV shareholder Carlton sunk $1.64 billion.

Combined ad coin for terrestrial channel ITV1 and digital channel ITV2 was up 1%, with Granada’s share accounting for $726 million while revenue rose 3% to $1.2 billion.

However, Allen admitted ad revenue remains difficult to predict, given the current economic outlook. Outside estimates put ITV’s advertising revs down 20% for June.

“The ITV fightback is well under way,” said Granada chairman Charles Allen. “ITV’s performance is benefiting from a clear strategy, better scheduling, more focused marketing and a bigger program budget.”

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