Tuesday 12 December 2017

UTV shares enjoy surge as director hikes stake by 43pc

Donal O'Donovan

Shares in UTV Media were up 5.74pc at 133.5p yesterday after the company said finance director Norman McKeown had increased his shareholding by 43pc to 74,400 shares.

The latest rise continues a trend that has lifted the shares by one-third, from the 104p price just a month ago.

UTV Media is the parent of the UTV television station and is also the biggest operator of local radio stations in the Republic -- with Dublin's 104fm, Cork's 96fm and Limerick's 95fm among its assets.

Killian Murphy of Goodbody said yesterday's sharp rise was actually in line with the trend of recent weeks. He said it reflected increased investor interest in UTV since the half-year results were announced, rather than a specific response to the director's dealing. However, a director increasing his stake will be seen as a vote of confidence in the company.

The results announced in August showed revenues up by 9pc to £59.2m (€69.7m), pre-tax profits up 17pc and, crucially an £18.4m (€21.7m) reduction in net debt over the previous 12 months to £77.3m (€90.9m).

Mr Murphy says the company has a solid cash position and he expects net debt to fall further, driven by a strong performance from its UK Talksport radio business in particular.

Irish Independent

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