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BskyB H1 Profit Up On Revenue Growth, Cost Control; Hikes Dividend


Pay-television provider British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc, known as BskyB, (BSYBY.PK, BSY.L) reported Thursday a higher profit for its first half, benefited by increased revenues and good cost control. The company also announced a 20 percent increase in dividend.

Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said, "In what remains a tough consumer environment, our broadly-based growth strategy is working well. Together with our continued focus on cost control and efficiencies, this has delivered another excellent financial performance and increased returns to shareholders."

For the first half, pre-tax profit was 642 million pounds, higher than last year's 597 million pounds. Adjusted profit before tax, which excluded certain items, grew 8 percent to 610 million pounds from prior year's 564 million pounds.

Earnings per share grew to 29.5 pence from last year's 25.2 pence, and adjusted earnings per share climbed 18 percent to 28.1 pence.

Adjusted operating profit increased 8 percent and margin grew 40 basis points to 18.3 percent.

The company said it continued excellent progress in cost initiatives and efficiency improvements, with which adjusted other operating costs as percentage of sales reduced by 200 basis point.

Revenue increased 5 percent year-over-year to 3.53 billion pounds with growth in both retail and wholesale operations more than offsetting reductions in the more cyclical businesses in advertising and pubs and clubs.

Retail subscription revenue improved on continued product and customer growth and the benefit of price increases.

The company reported subscription product growth of 615 thousand in the second quarter, while total subscription product base was 29.5 million, up 10 percent from last year.

BskyB added 88,000 new customers in the quarter to reach 10.74 million as of December 31, up 271 thousand from last year. Average revenue per unit or ARPU was 568 pounds, higher than 544 pounds last year.

The company further announced a 20 percent increase in interim dividend to 11 pence per share.

Looking ahead, Darroch said, "Although we expect the consumer environment in 2013 to remain challenging, we have a strong set of plans for the year ahead. We will keep getting better on screen, further improve our products and services for customers and maintain our focus on efficiency."

Further, the company said that Tom Mockridge resigned as a non-executive director and Chase Carey has been appointed a non-executive director on January 30. Carey is currently the Deputy Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of News Corp. (NWS). He formerly served on the BSkyB Board from 2003 to 2009.

In London, British Sky shares are currently trading at 821.65 pence, up 11.65 pence or 1.44 percent.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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