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First-quarter UTV revenue down 5pc

SHARES in UTV fell yesterday, after the media group reported lower sales than expected in the first quarter of the year and offered weak guidance for the rest of the year.

In an interim management statement, the media group said revenue fell 5pc to £28.1m (€33.3m) in the first three months of the year.

Sales fell across all of UTV's radio business. In the UK, revenue from radio dropped 7pc, while in Ireland sales slid 8pc to £4.9m.

UTV is one of the biggest media businesses on the island. It counts Q102 and FM104 among its portfolio here while it also owns TalkSport in the UK.

The company also holds the licence for ITV in Northern Ireland.

Only the smallest segment of the business – New Media – saw growth during the quarter. Turnover there rose 9pc to £3.1m.

Here, UTV said Radio Ireland revenues were down as a result of "the on-going volatile market conditions in Ireland".


"We believe that we continue to outperform the market. Q2 revenues are anticipated to be down by 6pc compared to last year (down 10pc on a local currency basis)," the company added.

Looking ahead, the company said the trading challenges experienced in Q1 "are expected to continue across our divisions in Q2 with year-on-year revenue declines attributable to adverse market conditions and the absence of a major sporting event in the first half of 2013".

"Industry forecasts for radio and television are positive for both 2013 and 2014. Forecasts from media agencies suggest that the GB radio market will see a return to growth in H2 of 2013. However, given the current challenging conditions we remain cautious about the outcome for the year and we have therefore implemented additional cost saving measures.

"The group's cash generative ability, relatively low borrowings and market leading media assets put us in a strong position to maximise growth opportunities when markets recover," the firm added.

Shares fell 2.2pc on the news, declining to 160 pence in London.

Irish Independent