STV to issue a dividend on back of net debt drop

THE Scots broadcasters, STV, are to issue a dividend to shareholders, on the back of half-year financial results that show a drop in net debt by 22 per cent, to £43.4 million.

This morning, STV announced – in a media statement – a “resumption of the dividend with a planned 1.5 pence per share final dividend in respect of 2013, to be confirmed in early 2014″.

The results are up to June 30.

The possibility of a dividend was speculated at the weekend in The Daily Mail’s This is Money. Writes Jon Rees, it would be a first dividend in eight years.

Other figures include operating profit up one per cent, year-on-year, from £8.1 million to £8.2 million. Year-on-year, pre-tax profit, meanwhile, was up five per cent, from £6.4 million to £6.7 million.

Adds the group, revenue at production arm, STV Productions, grew 84 per cent, year-on-year, while digital revenues were up 19 per cent over the same period.

Today, there is the additional news, that STV Productions has secured a further commission of 12 episodes of the quiz show, Catchphrase, for ITV1.

In a media release accompanying the financial results, Rob Woodward, chief executive officer, is quoted, as saying: “We have delivered another strong financial performance with a further significant reduction in net debt. We are pleased to announce our intention to return to dividend for the 2013 full year. Today, we announce the launch of an innovative range of mobile sites and companion sites targeted at consumers in Scotland’s largest cities. STV Productions continues to secure further returning series commissions with the announcement of a second series ratings success Catchphrase for ITV.

“As Richard Findlay steps down as chair, I would like to thank him for his significant contribution in re-establishing STV as a focused, consumer-facing business and look forward delivering the next phase of the company’s growth strategy under the chairmanship of Margaret Ford.”

Pic: Graeme Hunter.