(Alliance News) - ITV said Wednesday it made a positive start to 2021 with total revenue and total television viewing both up, despite the continuing pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The broadcaster said it finished the quarter strongly with a majority of shows back in production and a recovery in the advertising market.
For the first quarter to March 31, total external revenue was up 2% at GBP709 million from GBP694 million in the first quarter of 2020.
ITV Studios revenue was up 9% at GBP372 million from GBP342 million. In the Media & Entertainment division, revenue was down 3% at GBP484 million from GBP500 million, hurt by the national lockdown in the UK. ITV total advertising revenue was down 6%, but online revenue was up 14%.
ITV total viewing was up 1% in the first quarter. Online view was down 11%, due to the absence of the winter episodes of popular reality dating show Love Island in January and February. Excluding Love Island, online viewing was up 23%.
Looking ahead, ITV expects May advertising trends to be up by around 85% and June up by between 85% and 90% compared to the same period in 2020, benefiting from the European football championships and the return of Love Island over the summer.
ITV said that while there is uncertainty, the macro environment continues to improve, and it was encouraged by the outlook for total advertising in the first half, which it forecasts will be up around 26%, compared to the same period in 2020.
Further, ITV said it was confident that it will deliver its GBP30 million cost saving target for 2021.
ITV shares down 0.5% early Wednesday.
Here is what you need to know at the London market open:
FTSE 100: up 0.6% at 6,966.58
Hang Seng: down 0.7% at 28,366.89
Nikkei 225: closed down 0.8% at 28,812.63
DJIA: closed up 19.80 points, 0.1%, at 34,133.03
S&P 500: closed down 0.7% at 4,164.66
Nasdaq Composite: closed down 1.9% at 13,633.50
EUR: down at USD1.2000 (USD1.2015)
GBP: up at USD1.3900 (USD1.3871)
USD: up at JPY109.45 (JPY109.33)
Gold: down at USD1,776.45 per ounce (USD1,782.51)
Oil (Brent): up at USD69.47 a barrel (USD68.46)
(changes since previous London equities close)
ECONOMICS AND GENERAL
Wednesday's Key Economic Events still to come
China Labour Day holiday. Financial markets closed.
Japan Children's Day holiday. Financial markets closed.
0955 CEST Germany services purchasing managers' index
1000 CEST EU eurozone services PMI
1100 CEST EU producer price index
0700 EDT US MBA weekly mortgage applications survey
0815 EDT US ADP national employment report
0945 EDT US services PMI
1000 EDT US ISM services PMI
1030 EDT US EIA weekly petroleum status report
UK party leaders are preparing for a frantic last day of campaigning in the run-up to "super Thursday" as they bid to sway undecided voters before a bumper crop of elections. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to make a final pitch to the electorate in England with time running out before polls open, while Labour leader Keir Starmer will tour the country as he campaigns for votes. With the coronavirus pandemic delaying a host of elections by 12 months, it means there will be two years' worth of polls taking place across Great Britain on a single day on Thursday. Voters will have their say on the make-up of English councils, the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Senedd and decide who holds power in city halls, with a number of areas choosing regional mayors.
New car sales last month were down around 13% on the pre-pandemic April average, preliminary figures showed. Around 141,000 new cars were registered in the UK in April, the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders said. That is approximately a 30-fold increase on the same month in 2020, when the country was in a full coronavirus lockdown. But it is about 13% lower than the April average between 2010 and 2019.
BROKER RATING CHANGES
BARCLAYS RESUMES CINEWORLD GROUP WITH 'EQUAL WEIGHT' - TARGET 115 PENCE
JEFFERIES RAISES BT GROUP PRICE TARGET TO 240 (190) PENCE - 'BUY'
COMPANIES - FTSE 100
Speciality chemical firm Croda International said it is launching a strategic review of its Performance Technologies and Industrial Chemicals units. Croda said the main objective will be to establish what ownership structure best serves this part of the business going forward, to create a stronger platform for its future growth. The review is consistent with Croda's prioritisation of investments in the faster-growth life science and consumer markets, which now represent over 80% of company's profit, it noted. These are represented by its Personal Care and Life Sciences divisions. Croda said the review will consider whether the company is "the best future owner of all the PTIC businesses within the context of opportunities to deploy more capital and resources within PTIC, as well as in Consumer Care and Life Sciences". The review is expected to conclude by the end of 2021, Croda added.
COMPANIES - FTSE 250
Virgin Money swung to a pretax profit in the half year that ended March 31 of GBP72 million from a loss of GBP7 million a year before. Underlying net interest income slipped by 4% to GBP677 million from GBP702 million a year before as net interest margin narrowed to 1.56% from 1.62%. However, Virgin slashed its impairment charge to GBP38 million from GBP232 million, producing the swing to profit.
Direct Line Insurance said gross written premium declined by 4.7% to GBP752.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 from GBP789.6 million a year before. Motor premiums were down 11% due to fewer new cars and new drivers entering the market during the pandemic. Motor rescue was down 16% due to fewer shopping trips being made, it said. However, Commercial premiums rose by 16%, driven by higher sales to small and medium enterprises.
COMPANIES - MAIN MARKET AND AIM
boohoo Group said it delivered "another set of record results" despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. For the financial year ended February 28, revenue was up 41% to GBP1.75 billion from GBP1.23 billion the year before, and pretax profit jumped 35% to GBP124.7 million from GBP92.2 million. The fast-fashion retailer said it saw strong revenue growth across all geographies with UK up 39% and international up 44%. Looking ahead, boohoo said revenue growth for the full year to February 2022 is expected to be around 25% at a group level, with newly acquired brands, such as Debenhams online business, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton, expected to deliver five percentage points of this growth. "Our newly acquired brands are being re-energised and made relevant for today's consumer across a broader market demographic," said Chief Executive Officer John Lyttle.
COMPANIES - GLOBAL
Auto giant Stellantis, formed by the merger of Peugeot-Citroen and Fiat-Chrysler, said it booked a strong rise in revenue in the first quarter, despite production outages related to the pandemic and a worldwide shortage of semiconductors. "In our first quarter since the merger, Stellantis posted strong first-quarter 2021 revenues, with the diverse brand portfolio driving increased volumes, positive pricing and improved product mix, despite the headwinds from the global semiconductor crisis," the group's chief financial officer, Richard Palmer, said in a statement. Stellantis said that group revenue rose by 14% to EUR37 billion in the three-month period and overall shipments were up 11% at 1.6 million units.
Australia & New Zealand Banking Group lifted its interim payout and said it is well-placed to continue to support the ongoing economic recovery. The Melbourne, Australia-based banking and financial services company said profit after tax for the six months to the end of March rose by 45% on a year prior to AUD2.94 billion, about USD2.27 billion. Profit growth was driven by a net credit provision release of AUD491 million. Cash profit for continuing operations, before credit impairments and tax, however, came in at AUD3.94 billion, down 10% year-on-year. As a result, pretax profit before credit impairment slipped to AUD4.87 billion in the first half from AUD5.05 billion a year earlier. ANZ said it will pay an interim dividend of 70 Australian cents per share, doubled from 35 cents paid a year ago.
Wednesday's Shareholder Meetings
Alpha FX Group PLC - AGM
Anglo American PLC - AGM
Anglo American PLC - GM re SA coal ops demerger
Aviva PLC - noteholders meeting
Barclays PLC - AGM
Clarkson PLC - AGM
GlaxoSmithKline PLC - AGM
Johnson Service Group PLC - AGM
Kore Potash PLC - GM re fundraise
Mpac Group PLC - AGM
Personal Group Holdings PLC - AGM
Phoenix Spree Deutschland Ltd - EGM
Renewables Infrastructure Group Ltd - AGM
TClarke PLC - AGM
Ten Entertainment Group PLC - AGM
Tritax Big Box REIT PLC - AGM
Unilever PLC - AGM
By Tom Waite; firstname.lastname@example.org
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