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Carlton Communications Plc, the London-based television, video and film media group that owns Quantel, developer of the computer-based Paintbox television graphics generator, has braved the stormy economic climate reporting end of year pre-tax profits up 15.2% at UKP102.3m, on sales of UKP701.6m. The company attributes this to a combination of cost-cutting in all branches of its business and increased market share in its Video & Sound and Distribution division by acquisition. Net profits were impacted by an extraordinary item charge of UKP1.5m for its 20% investment in Central Independent Television Plc and its stake in the breakfast television Carlton Television GMTV franchise it won from ITV. The Video & Sound Products and Distribution division, of which Quantel is a part, saw profits rise by 49.9% to UKP46.6m, on revenues up 13% at UKP271.3m. Margins in the division have benefitted from lower material costs and higher production requirements being more evenly spread over the year, it says. In 1993, its Technicolor business will be consolidated into a single plant in California acquired for UKP10m. This will be paid out in the 1993 financial year. New products introduced by Quantel including the Digital Objects for Movies software were well received and sales exceeded expectations. Continuing investment in research and development has underpinned the division’s growth, says chairman Michael Green. The operation’s results were also impacted by the contribution of UKP42m in revenues and UKP1m in profits from the acquisition of video distributor Pickwick Group Plc in March. The division overall increased market share of the video sell-through market, as well as securing new contracts in the US and Europe. In its other business: the Television and Film Services division saw pre-tax profits up by 1% to UKP25,1m, on turnover up 13.2% at UKP207.1m; associated undertakings including the joint acquisition of software developer Miles 33 Plc with UEI Plc saw profits rise by 142.8% to UKP6.7m, on UKP2.756 last time. Carlton has finished the year with UKP108m cash in the bank, and no gearing. It will pay a final dividend up 10% to 10.3 pence net bringing the total for the year to 17 pence. Green said although it ended the year in a strong position, it would remain cautious in the current climate.

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CBR Staff Writer

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