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ITV is ‘turning financial corner’ -
ITV is ‘turning financial corner’
UK commercial network broadcaster ITV has had the most miserable of times this past year or two. Three years ago its stock was trading at 130p. Today it is barely 45p, and has recently been as low as 17.5p. Yesterday it received a much-needed boost in the shape of a positive note to investors from bankers Morgan Stanley. Up went the share price helped by a suggestion in the note that the stock has a target price of 50p – or more. It isn’t wonderful, but it is much better than 17.5p.
“The key feature for us of the H1 results was the significantly better than expected debt position at £727m, courtesy of a positive £113m working capital improvement,” says the bank’s report. “ITV has £500m of cash, no covenants on its debt and only £375m of debt maturities by March 2013. A rights issue is not needed.” The bank goes on to explain that even a modest recovery in ITVs advertising income will result in considerable benefits for the broadcaster. A more rapid recovery would add considerably to ITVs financial status. The bank’s ‘Bull’ case looks for a 2% Net Advertising Revenue next year growing to 5.5% in 2011. But if the UK suffers a continuing advertising recession then this will translate into extremely bad news for ITV.
Morgan Stanley has upgraded its revenue forecasts for ITV, but even on these raised numbers it will not be until 2012 that revenues start growing in any meaningful fashion (to £1.862bn) and remembering that 2008 achieved £2.038bn. This year’s revenues will be about £1.797bn.