Carlton TV figures make swift impact

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The Independent Online
CARLTON TELEVISION, the biggest of the Channel 3 broadcasters, started to make trading profits within three months of taking over the London weekday franchise from Thames Television on 1 January.

Although reporting a pounds 4.27m loss after financing costs in the six months to 31 March, it expects to make a clear profit at the full-year stage.

Michael Green, chairman of the parent company, Carlton Communications, said: 'Carlton TV is definitely doing much better than we expected six months ago.

'The investment has turned out to be pounds 80m rather than the pounds 100m originally expected. And advertising revenues are more buoyant - running at 6 to 7 per cent ahead of last year.'

Carlton Communications, whose main businesses are video duplicating and services to the film and TV industries, reported a 16 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 55.1m in the six months to 31 March. It lifted the interim dividend 10 per cent to 7.4p.

The entire broadcast television division made a pounds 582,000 loss after including the contributions of the associate companies, Central Independent Television and the troubled breakfast-time broadcaster GMTV.

Guy Lamming, a media analyst with James Capel, forecast that Carlton TV would make operating profits of pounds 7m at the full-year stage.

Mr Green said he was looking to invest in television interests outside the UK and had had talks in Spain and France. 'We'd be looking to make a minority investment to begin with. But we're not in any hurry to do so.'

Video and audio production and distribution lifted its profits contribution from pounds 20.4m to pounds 30.8m, boosted by a first-time contribution from the newly acquired Pickwick. Carlton expects to make a record 30 million copies of Disney's Aladdin.

Film and television services slipped from pounds 13.7m to pounds 13.2m. Video and sound products rose 50 per cent to pounds 12m.

View from City Road, page 22

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