ANY thoughts that the team at Grampian Television might be quietly
awaiting the inevitable bid can be dismissed. Along with good results
yesterday they flew the independence flag strongly.
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Group profit was up 18% before tax to #3.8m to end-February, even
though turnover was shaded lower from #20.6m to #20.5m.
Chairman Calum MacLeod pointed out that an improvement in advertising
and other sources of revenue had come close to compensating for the
separation of Channel Four airtime sales.
After a first complete year of new licence payments amounting to
#722,000 net profit stood at #2.7m to lift earnings from 15.68p to
18.71p. Shareholders will be kept happy with a 23% rise, a 6p final
making 7.50p total.
Boldly laying claim to be ''Britain's Top Station'' on the back of a
poll reflecting popularity in its own area, Grampian stakes out the case
for independents serving niche regional markets.
''With a strong balance-sheet and a clear strategy Grampian is
well-placed to flourish in an industry where there is a place for both
large groups and the smaller companies,'' said Mr MacLeod.
Among the group's bull points last year were an increase in the share
of network advertising from 1.09% to 1.17%, with an increase in top
brands business. Also ahead was revenue from the hire of facilities,
with benefit from the previous year's #3m investment in studios and
Growth in Aberdeen and Stornoway premises as media centres improved
revenue and cost efficiency. The company is in talks with the BBC with a
view to its Aberdeen operation also being based in the Queen's Cross
Mr MacLeod said that investment in commercial radio also formed part
of the strategy to expand the group's overall position.
Grampian has increased its stake in Moray Firth Radio and won the
Central Scotland FM licence in partnership with Border Television.
That new service, with 2,600,000 audience potential in the central
belt, is being named Scot FM. Under managing director Tom Hunter and
based in Leith it is aiming for an autumn start.