ITV results indicate worst is behind company but outlook uncertain

Pre-tax profit for the 12 months to 31 December 2009 was £25m against a £2.7bn loss in 2008 (after £2.7 billion pounds of impairment charges) on revenue down 7% to £1.87bn. Profit before tax and exceptional items dropped 4% to £108m. adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and amortization fell 4.3% to £202 million, but was ahead of the £180 million analyst consensus. The shares were recently up 3% to 57p, having risen close to 20% since the BskyB stake sale.

Television advertising revenues dropped 9% in 2009 to £1.29bn, but that was ahead of the total market which fell 11% and the first quarter of 2010 is estimated to be up 7%. Forecasts for April indicate an increase in ad revenue of 15-20%, but the group warns that in the second half, and particularly the fourth quarter, comparatives are more challenging and the wider economic outlook after the forthcoming election remains uncertain. "Whilst ITV advertising revenues are up 7% in the first quarter, this is against the unprecedented declines of the previous year and, over the medium term, we remain cautious. We recognise also that ITV still faces formidable challenges,” said interim boss John Cresswell.

Adam Crozier joins the company as chief executive on 26th April.