Pay-TV firm British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) reported record product sales and strong double-digit growth in profit and revenue for the first half. The company, which lifted its interim dividend by 11 percent to 8.74 pence, said the business has achieved milestone of 10 million customers and total net product growth was 2.193 million.
BSkyB said high definition continued to grow strongly and it achieved its highest broadband growth for more than two years.
For the half year ended December 31, pretax profit from continuing operations rose to 467 million pounds from 371 million pounds. Revenue grew 15 percent to 3.2 billion pounds ($5 billion), helped by strong growth in retail subscription, wholesale and advertising, it said.
Looking ahead, we are cautious on the economic outlook for 2011, while remaining very confident in the long term opportunity for the business, said chief executive Jeremy Darroch.
Next week, BSkyB said it will launch Sky Atlantic, a premium channel featuring outstanding entertainment from the US and the UK, available to Sky TV customers at no additional charge. Later in the year, it will launch a new service, Sky Anywhere.
Despite the inevitable distractions of the News Corp bid, Sky continues to power ahead regardless, said analyst Richard Hunter of Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.
Hunter said the News Corp situation could drag on for a while yet, but in the meantime Sky is firing on all cylinders in the background.
Even though the shares have gained some 38 percent over the last year, as compared to a gain of 14 percent in the wider FTSE100, market consensus maintains that the shares are a cautious buy, Hunter said.
Shares of BSkyB are trading 1.65 percent higher at 770 pence at 1.27 pm GMT Thursday on the London Stock Exchange.