Wireless Group upbeat about growth prospects

Wireless Group — the newly named radio business recently spun out from UTV Media — is anticipating growth in Irish radio advertising spend this year and a strong ries in profitability.

Wireless was formed in the aftermath of ITV’s recent purchase of UTV Media’s television operations on the island of Ireland.

Its assets cover UTV’s former radio stations in Ireland and Britain and include FM104 and Q102 in Dublin and Cork’s C103 and 96FM.

“The new Wireless Group has a very exciting future as a focused radio business with market-leading assets, a robust balance sheet and a strong management team,” said chairman Richard Huntingford.

“We are targeting double-digit profit growth over the medium-term, which should deliver both significant income and capital growth for shareholders over the coming years.”

His comments came on the back of Wireless’ first set of annual results, which double as UTV Media’s last. The figures include the former television business and show a group revenue of £75.1m (€95m); down from the restated £82.4m for 2014.

Pre-tax profits amounted to £10.7m and the group maintained its 7.60p dividend for shareholders.

Earnings at the Radio GB arm grew by 4% to £11.7m, but Radio Ireland’s earnings declined by 19% to £4.4m.

Davy Stockbrokers analyst Robert Stokes warned, however, that Wireless’ exposure to radio leaves it open to revenue declines if audience volumes dwindle. This, he said, “would have a more severe impact on Wireless than would have been the case prior to the sale of the television assets”.

Wireless is anticipating single-digit growth in Irish radio advertising this year, management said.


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