Wednesday 7 December 2016

Wireless Group plans major cost savings after UTV sale

John Mulgrew

Published 21/06/2016 | 02:30

The entrance to the ITV Plc headquarters and television studios in London
The entrance to the ITV Plc headquarters and television studios in London

The company behind radio stations including FM104, Cork's 96fm and Limerick's Live95, is planning cuts across the business.

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Stock market-listed Wireless Group - the new name for the old UTV's radio assets - is planning to cut costs by £3m (€3.88m) next year, it can be revealed.

The portfolio of 22 radio stations, including U105 in Belfast and Q102 in Dublin, was rebranded as Wireless Group following ITV's £100m deal to buy Ulster Television and UTV Ireland from UTV Media plc.

In the latest accounts, it outlines cost-cutting plans over the next 12 months.

The "sale of the television business prompted a review of costs across the group".

"It was recognised that the costs of the central team needed to be reduced in order to re-size operations," the accounts state.

"At the same time a detailed review took place across the stations to identify further savings," the accounts added.

"Plans are currently being implemented to reduce the cost base by £3m from 2017 onwards."

Belfast-based Wireless Group has reported a 10pc fall in pre-tax profits to £10.7m for 2015.

Revenue for the whole of 2015 was also down at the firm - which owns 23 radio stations in Britain and across Ireland - from £82.4m to £75.1m.Wireless also posted a loss after tax on discounted items, which includes UTV Ireland, of £5.3m for the year.

Speaking about UTV Ireland, it says "the performance (of the station in the Republic) was not matched at the weekend where the absence of consistently popular programming undermined overall audience delivery, and therefore advertising revenue projections, leading to revisions of profit expectations".

Irish Independent

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