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Broadcasting giant, ITV, saw its shares fall over 11 per cent this week, to 99.52p, as it lost major advertisers due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Travel companies have cancelled upcoming ad campaigns and coupled with a four per cent fall in viewing figures, it’s been a bleak week for the broadcaster.
ITV revealed its annual pre-tax profit had fallen seven per cent to £530 million although its revenue had increased by three per cent.
The biggest concern in the short-term though is that advertising revenues in April are expected to fall by ten per cent and the possibility of disruption to the Euro 2020 tournament in June could make ITV’s issues a whole lot bigger.
So, is this a warning siren for investors or just a minor blip for the broadcaster? There was some good news from the results – online revenue surged by 21 per cent, thanks in part to the success of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Love Island. Its original programming Studios arm has also been a hit with a nine per cent jump in revenue to £1.82 bn.
Analysts are concerned about the prognosis for advertising though with Richard Hunter from interactive investor saying: “The principal difficulty for ITV, however, is its ongoing reliance on advertising revenue, which still accounts for around half of the group total”
Hargreaves Lansdowne also pointed out that while ITV’s production and online businesses are performing strongly, advertising still contributes the lion’s share of its revenue and its shares currently trade well below their longer-term average of 8.7 times future earnings. It’s difficult to tell how much coronavirus will affect the broadcaster in the long-term but in the shorter term it is certainly likely to have an impact for investors.
Holiday firm TUI has become another casualty of the coronavirus outbreak, losing its place in the FTSE 100 after a 42 per cent share price slump in the year to date.
So, with shares now standing at 6.26 EUR, what are the chances of recovery for the travel operator?
The coronavirus outbreak has come right in the middle of TUI’s peak holiday booking period, and the publicised lock-down of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace, part of TUI’s all-inclusive offering, will not have helped the situation.
Back at the beginning of February, the holiday firm had seen a sharp share price rise after its results revealed a 14 per cent increase in summer bookings but the current issues have brought it crashing back to earth.
Whether or not TUI can bounce back is probably dependent on whether the coronavirus turns out to be not as bad as expected – some analysts have pointed out that the firm was doing well until the outbreak and appeared to have benefitted from last year’s demise of rival Thomas Cook.
Amidst all the doom and gloom, construction giant Kier saw its share price surge 25 per cent yesterday on the back of its latest results.
With its share price now standing at 130.00p at the time of writing, does this mean the firm’s rebuild under the guidance of new Chief Executive Andrew Davie really is on?
Kier revealed that its operating loss for the first half of the year fell to £24.4 million compared to £32.5 million last year, and its total cost savings in the six-month period were £23 million.
The construction company has seen turbulent times lately and its stock is still down nearly 90 per cent over the last two years, but these latest figures suggest that the company’s turnaround plan may be bearing fruit.
Kier expects its cost-cutting programme to save around £65 million by June 2021, and the figures show cost reduction has already boosted underlying profit which has remained flat despite a revenue decline to £1.82 billion.
Kier also reported that it is progressing with its disposal of residential unit Kier Living, which should boost its balance sheet. Some analysts have raised concerns about the construction giant’s debt, which still stands at £242.5m but both Liberium Capital and Peel Hunt have reiterated ‘buy’ ratings for the stock in the wake of the half year results.
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