STV hikes dividend after shrugging off revenue fall

STV chief executive Rob Woodward. Picture: John Devlin
STV chief executive Rob Woodward. Picture: John Devlin
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Broadcaster STV today set out plans for a 25 per cent hike in its total dividend after overcoming a fall in revenues to deliver higher annual profits.

The Glasgow-based group said pre-tax profits for 2015 rose 10 per cent to £19.1 million – up from £17.3m the previous year and in line with City forecasts.

The rise in earnings came despite revenues dipping 3 per cent to £116.5m, which STV said was mainly linked to a decline in sales at its production arm, which makes shows such as Antiques Road Trip and Catchphrase.

READ MORE: STV upbeat on outlook for full-year earnings

Revenues at STV Productions dropped 38 per cent to £8.3m, reflecting fewer commissions and lower deliveries than forecast, and the group said it has written down the carrying value of goodwill related to the business by £5.1m after it missed its growth targets.

Despite this setback, chief executive Rob Woodward said 2015 had seen a “good performance for the group with operating profit above £20m for the first time in eight years, generating steadily growing returns to shareholders and reducing net debt to its lowest level since the mid 1990s”.

He added: “Our investments and focus have put us in a strong position to deliver organic growth in the future and the increasing diversity of earnings improves the security of returns for our investors.”

STV proposed a final dividend of 7p a share, to be paid on 20 May, giving a total payout for the year to 10p – up from 8p in 2014.