Love Hurts but profits double

SELECTV, the sitcom maker that owns 15 per cent of Meridian Broadcasting, more than doubled its pre-tax profits to pounds 423,000 in the year to 31 March, helped by new programmes such as Love Hurts, writes Patrick Hosking.

Meridian, which won the Channel 3 franchise for the south of England and begins broadcasting on 1 January, would take 'some time' to produce any dividend income, SelecTV warned.

Michael Buckley, chairman, said SelecTV, which itself is paying no dividend this year, might pay one next year; if not it would be sure to the following year.

SelecTV raised pounds 5.6m from its shareholders in December to pay for the Meridian stake. After the dilution of this, earnings per share rose 41 per cent to 0.38p.

SelecTV is producing two comedy series for Meridian, Full Stretch and Thick As Thieves, and a special starring Michael Palin and Tracey Ullman.

The shares fell 1p to 12 1/2 p, compared with the 17p rights price.