“ATV Network remains the keystone of the Company’s operations. Nevertheless it is my firm intention that the corporation should comprise a wide variety of operations all with strong potential”
Results and Dividend
I am pleased to be able to report a Group Profit of £7,268,000 [£65.5m in today’s money allowing for inflation – Ed] before taxation which is marginally above the record profit made last year. The earnings per ‘A’ Ordinary Unit after taxation were 8.64p [77.85p] (1972/73, 10.42p [93.88p]). Your Board has decided to recommend an increase of the dividend to 5.125705p [46.18p] per ‘A’ Stock unit. This is equivalent to an increase of 5 per cent in the rate of the dividend (the maximum permitted under Phase III of the Government’s Counter-Inflation Legislation) making a total for the year of 30.067 per cent.
In the year under review the prosperity of your Company clearly reflected the economic state of the nation. It was thus a year of sharply contrasting fortune. The first nine months proved highly profitable. Indeed, if the results for that period could have been maintained, the figure of profit would have been conspicuously the highest in the Company’s history. The final quarter, however, spanned the disastrous weeks of the energy crisis. ATV Network, in particular, was gravely hit.
Here it should be borne in mind that, in the past, the operation of the television franchise has been responsible for approximately half the profits of the Corporation. It therefore speaks highly for the healthy state of the other diversified activities that the figure for Group profit should remain virtually unaffected.
I am happy, moreover, to be able to say that the severe setback suffered by Commercial Television in the winter of 1973 and the early spring of 1974 proved to be only temporary. Confidence in the medium as an essential element in efficient salesmanship has been re-affirmed by the manufacturers, and the advertising revenue of ATV Network already shows full recovery.
Your Board welcomes the statement by the Authority that, subject to appraisal during 1974 of the performance of the Companies, no change in the present allocation of franchises will be made before 1979.
Your Board has vigorously pursued its policy of expansion into other fields, and future possible acquisitions are constantly being investigated. The acquisition last year of 80 per cent of Ansafone Holdings Ltd. has abundantly justified such a policy. Elsewhere, there has been steady growth in the principal divisions already within the Group.
Your film producing and distributing subsidiaries ITC–Incorporated Television Company Ltd., Independent Television Corporation (U.S.A.), and ITC of Canada — have all been exceptionally active.
Despite the dislocation caused by the power cuts, petrol shortages and impaired train services during the winter months of 1973/74, your subsidiary Stoll Theatres Corporation Ltd. enjoyed a reasonably satisfactory year.
Records, Tapes and Music Publishing
Your record company, Pye Records, and your cassette and cartridge tape company, Precision Tapes, have both experienced exceptional success. Together with ATVs music publishing operations, they have returned a profit 83 per cent higher than last year’s at a figure of £2,502,000 [£22.6m].
The results of your property subsidiary, Bentray Investments, have been most satisfactory, and your major development, ATV Centre, Birmingham, is now a valuable contribution to Group finances.
A stock market crash, followed by an Arab-Israeli war, followed by a 400% increase in the cost of oil and gas, followed by a rail strike, followed by a miners’ strike, followed by a general election where the prime minister, Edward Heath, asked “who governs Britain?” and the public replied “search us, guv” leading to a result where the Tories got the most votes by Labour got the most seats, leading to second general election a few months later… the 1973-4 period covered by this report was difficult for everybody.
That the Corporation turned a profit before tax at all was something of a miracle, that it increased it is amazing. They even raised the dividend.
|Group Results at a Glance||1974 – £’000||1973 – £’000||1974 £m + inflation||1973 £m + inflation|
|Profit before Taxation||7,268||7,253||65,485||65,350|
|Profit after Taxation||3,686||4,360||33,211||39,284|
|Return on Shareholders’ Funds||10.30%||12.90%|
|Earnings per Share||8.64p||10.42p||77.85p||93.88p|
|Dividend per ‘A’ Ordinary Unit||5.125705p||4.762747p||46.18p||42.91p|
About the author
As a public company with shareholders, ATV was required to publish a detailed Annual Report at the end of each financial year. It was common to also publish a Chairman's Statement, summing up the report in more readable language.