STV on rise despite advertising slide

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Growth in STV’s television production business is expected to compensate for a “flat” advertising market when the Glasgow-based broadcaster posts its first-half results this week.

The absence of a major football tournament will see TV advertising revenues for the first six months of the year dip between 3 and 4 per cent, with no repeat of last year’s Euro 2012 boost.

However, house broker Peel Hunt predicts Wednesday’s results will show overall revenues climbed 7.4 per cent to £51 million after the recommissioning of productions including ITV2 show Fake Reaction and BBC2’s Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, with underlying profits up 22.7 per cent at £9.2m.

In a busy week for Scotland’s oil and gas sector, tomorrow brings half-year results from Cairn Energy and Wood Group. Investors will be looking for updates on Edinburgh-based Cairn’s activities in the Atlantic margin, where it has recently focused its efforts on Mauritania, Morocco and Senegal, having failed to make a significant discovery in Greenland. Meanwhile, Aberdeen-based Wood is forecast to deliver an 18 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £245m following a string of contract extensions.

Aberdeen driller Bridge Energy, which last week began work on two wells in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, posts its interim figures on Thursday.

The recent upturn in confidence in the building industry will also be on show this week, with first-half results due from Persimmon and Bovis Homes.

Deutsche Bank analysts expect Bovis to reveal today that pre-tax profits jumped 42.5 per cent to £17.6m as the firm benefits from UK government schemes to stimulate the housing market, while the broker predicts tomorrow’s numbers from Persimmon will show profits have swelled by a third to £129.1m.

Infrastructure contractor Costain will shrug off the disappointment of its failed merger with May Gurney when half-year results on Thursday show a growing order book despite tough construction markets.

The group has won a host of contracts in recent months, including upgrading Thames Water’s network, improving a major road in Lincolnshire and overhauling power lines in the south-east of England.

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