HTV reorganisation results in pre-tax losses of pounds 2m

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The Independent Online
HTV, the Independent Television company for Wales and the West of England, yesterday disclosed the high price of preparing for life after 1991's franchise auction.

Pre-tax losses in 1992 were pounds 2m after heavy reorganisation and redundancy costs. The final dividend, like the interim, was passed.

After extraordinary charges to cover the closure and disposal of non- core businesses, a pounds 19.4m loss was carried forward, reducing shareholders' funds from 53p a share to 30p. The shares fell 9p to 29p.

Delay in selling HFA, a fine art trading subsidiary, caused most of an pounds 8.75m extraordinary charge to cover continuing losses and asset write- downs in businesses up for sale. It lost pounds 2.25m during 1992 and the company admitted that its disposal may take some time.

A further pounds 8.8m charge covered the write-back through the profit and loss account of goodwill that had previously been charged against reserves.

The results cover the last period before HTV becomes liable for the pounds 20.5m annual fee it bid in 1991 to retain its broadcasting licence.

In preparation for that, the company's staff numbers have been reduced to fewer than 400 from 599 at the end of 1991.

Chris Rowlands, finance director, said pounds 7m of costs had been taken out and he expected that the end of the obligation on ITV companies to fund Channel 4 would result in a saving of pounds 11m. He admitted that a profit this year depended on more advertising.

Advertising revenue fell from pounds 98.5m to pounds 93.3m, which Louis Sherwood, chairman, blamed on a drift of advertising spend towards London. HTV's share of the total television advertising market fell from 6.2 per cent in 1991 to 5.66 per cent.