ITV to pay out £156m special dividend after seeing full-year earnings rise
ITV, Britain's largest free-to-air broadcaster, said a push to grow non-advertising revenue meant it was able to pay a £156m (€180m) special dividend after full-year earnings rose 13pc.
"We want to reward all our shareholders equally and to reward shareholders who are staying with us as we grow," chief executive Adam Crozier told reporters.
ITV, home to soap opera 'Coronation Street', period drama 'Downton Abbey' and variety show 'Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway', said having ended 2012 with £206m net cash it would pay a special dividend of 4p per share as well as a 2.6p full-year dividend.
Mr Crozier, chief executive since 2010, has been weaning ITV off its dependence on revenue from a weak advertising market, seeking greater revenue streams from television production, online, pay and interactive businesses. "ITV is transforming into a more robust, efficient and balanced company," he said.
ITV said adjusted 2012 earnings rose 13pc to £520m on revenue up 3pc to £2.2bn. Adjusted earnings per share rose 16pc to 9.2p, compared with a forecast for 8.7p.
Shares in ITV hit a 12-month high at 125.4p last week, partly because of speculation that the recently agreed takeover of Virgin Media by Liberty Global might trigger an approach for ITV from a private equity firm.
Mr Crozier said ITV had not received any approaches.
ITV's non-advertising revenue rose 12pc to £1.04bn, helped by its production division, ITV Studios, increasing revenue 16pc and online, pay and interactive revenue rising 26pc. (Reuters)