STV shares leap as battle with ITV ends and it returns to profit

SHARES in Scottish broadcaster STV jumped by more than 10 per cent yesterday as the company posted a rise in profit on improved TV advertising revenues.

STV, which runs the terrestrial channels in central Scotland run by ITV in England, posted a surprising improvement in performance during 2012, and said it expects advertising revenues to improve in the first quarter of this year.

Chief executive Rob Woodward also said his company had put a longrunning dispute with its partner ITV behind it. The two companies were involved in a legal battle for several years over alleged unpaid contributions to ITV.

The company had been hit with a £13.4m charge related to legal costs in 2011, and booked £5.3m in tax charges last year over the dispute.

STV, which has also won the licences to run local TV stations in Edinburgh and Glasgow, saw a one per cent rise in revenue to £102.7m during the year, and saw profit rise three per cent to £14.4m. Significantly, the firm also cut its debt by 17 per cent.

The company has made steady progress in its TV production arm, and announced yesterday it had won new contracts to produce new episodes of BBC Two’s Celebrity Antiques Road Trip and ITV’s Catchphrase.

“We have delivered strong financial results with double digit growth in operating profit and a significant reduction in debt,” Woodward said.