SMG has announced it has reduced its debt, although it has also recorded less than half of last year's profits.
The company has reduced its debt from £157million in 2006 to £47million after a ‘transformational year’ in which has seen the sale of outdoor advertising company Primesight, while it also undertook a rights issue which raised £95.1million before the new year and is continuing its search to offload cinema advertiser Pearl & Dean. It is also rumoured to be very close to agreeing the sale of Virgin Radio as it looks to concentrate on its core television offering.
Richard Findlay, chairman at smg, commented; "2007 was a challenging year, but the result has been a substantial transformation of the Company. The TV business has been restructured and is outperforming the market. Virgin Radio's profit has nearly doubled. The Primesight sale was a success in a difficult market and our debt burden has been reduced by two thirds. Although the economic outlook is challenging, the business is now robustly positioned for profitable growth."
Rob Woodward, chief executive, said; "In addition to the financial and operating changes we executed, 2007 was also a successful year of commercial and creative restructuring. Our viewer and advertising share in Scotland continues to strengthen, our Content business has had its biggest-ever commission and we are about to re-launch our Online business. Our turnaround plan is firmly on track, and for 2008, we are focused on delivering the financial benefits of restructuring and growth."