Prime results for regional TV and radio group

The resurgence of Kerry Stoke’s Seven Network is producing strong results for regional radio and tv company Prime Television, which has flagged net profit growth of about 29% this year.

In today’s AFR, Neil Shoebridge reports Prime chief executive Warwick Syphers saying he is comfortable with the consensus forecast of a $25 million net profit for 2005-06, up from $20.6 million in 2004-05.

Prime recently bought six radio stations from Macquarie Bank.

Prime’s December-half results showed a 6.5% increase in net profit to $13.1 million, compared with a consensus forecast of $11.5 million to $12.5 million. Prime’s share price finished yesterday at $3.32.

Prime’s advertising revenue rose 7% during the half, including a 7% increase to $88.8 million in Australia.

Shoebridge points out that Prime, which is 40% owned by its chairman Paul Ramsay, was the star performer in the regional TV ad market in the December half. The market grew 1.3%, with Prime taking share from rivals Southern Cross Broadcasting and WIN Corp.

The six radio stations Prime bought from Macquarie Bank in September for $26.4 million contributed revenue of $3.1 million and earnings of $1.1. million.

Syphers told the AFR: “The radio stations are doing well and are complimentary to our TV business. We’d like to buy more radio stations but we’re being hog-tied until the government releases its media reform plan. No one is buying or selling anything until they’ve seen the plan.”