Internet TV losses wipe out Alba profits

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The share price of Alba, the consumer electronics goods maker behind the Goodman and Bush brands, plunged 26 per cent yesterday after it reported that losses on its internet TV products wiped out most of the earnings made in other product areas.

Losses at Bush Internet, which makes TVs with built-in internet access and set-top boxes for conventional sets, hit £17.9m mainly because of hardware subsidies. That pushed down Alba's group-wide after-tax earnings for the year to March to £1.7m from £14.5m a year earlier.

John Harris, the chairman, said: "All of our subsidiaries and divisions engaged in our consumer electronics, domestic appliance and power tool businesses performed well. He admitted that the internet TV venture had "fallen short of the ambitious targets we had set".

The service has 115,000 subscribers. In the traditional business, which markets Goodman personal CD players and domestic appliances such as the Dirt Devil hand held vacuum cleaner, operating profit grew 11 per cent to £20.6m. Group sales jumped 16 per cent to £382.5m, while the total dividend gained 5 per cent to 8.65p.

Alba stock closed down 105p at 297.5p yesterday, valuing the company £147m.