The Week Ahead:Improved profits expected from ITV and Taylor Wimpey

Taylor Wimpey reports its annual results on Tuesday.

Taylor Wimpey reports its annual results on Tuesday. - Credit: PA

The benefits of the UK’s economic recovery will be highlighted this week when housebuilder Taylor Wimpey and broadcaster ITV post annual results.

ITV will be boosted on Wednesday by higher annual advertising revenues and profits, even though its audience figures have slipped.

The City expects the broadcaster, which is home to shows including Downton Abbey and The X Factor, will report a 17% rise in adjusted pre-tax profits to £682million.

The broadcaster recently reported a 5% decline in its share of viewing across its family of channels to 21.8% for the 10 months to October 31. The figure for the main ITV channel was down 4% to 15.4%.

Despite this ITV said its net advertising revenues rose 6% in the first nine months of this year, buoyed by the World Cup in Brazil. Advertising revenue for the full year is expected to grow by 5%.

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Brokers say that forecasting advertising sales over this year will be difficult due to the General Election and the effect that the Rugby World Cup this autumn will have compared to last summer’s football World Cup. Analysts at Numis forecast a rise in net advertising sales of between 1% and 3%.

ITV has looked to minimise its exposure to volatile advertising markets by boosting its spending on original content. It has snapped up companies behind programmes such as 24 Hours In A&E and the Graham Norton Show to build an arsenal of original content it can sell around the globe.

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Revenues at ITV Studios were up 10% over the nine months and full year revenues are on track to grow by £100m on a same currency basis.

Online, pay-TV and interactive is another strong growth area for the company as revenues in this area rose 24% in the first nine months, helped by new deals with pay platforms and strong demand for video-on-demand.

ITV added that ITVBe, which launched in October and is targeted at a young female audience, has made an encouraging start in terms of audience share.

Numis said: “The group continues to make good progress across its digital and production businesses and we believe the management team is executing well on and off-screen.”

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey is expected to post a big jump in annual profits on Tuesday as the industry continues to benefit from good conditions in the new homes market.

Pre-tax profits at firm are forecast to jump 68% to £451m as it build more homes at higher prices. Last month it said the number of homes it completed last year rose by 6% to 12,454 compared to a year ago, with its average selling price 12% higher at £213,000.

The earlier part of 2014 saw the housing market surge, aided by Government initiatives such as the Help to Buy programme. The Mortgage Market Review and new rules by the Bank of England introduced in the middle of last year imposed tighter affordability checks on borrowers and more restrictions on lenders in a bid to cool the market and prevent a housing bubble.

However, the firm also welcomed the Government’s reforms to graduate Stamp Duty announced in the Autumn Statement, which it said ‘’will help more homebuyers to get onto and move up the property ladder.’’

The housebuilder said its order book represented 6,601 homes, which it said was the ‘’optimum size for the business at this point in the cycle.’’ It will hand shareholders a special dividend of £50m this year and has pledged a £250m payout in 2015. Brokers at Numis estimate the dividend could rise to £350m in 2016, and will look for guidance on this on.

The group, which teetered on the brink of collapse in 2009 due to massive debts, has been helped by a strengthening economy, record-low borrowing costs and the government’s Help to Buy house loan scheme.

Analysts at Numis added: “Taylor Wimpey has emerged from its near-death experience in the downturn as one of the strongest housebuilders in the sector with regard to landholdings and returns.”

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