Northern Irish broadcaster Ulster Television Plc, which has been in merger talks with Scottish based media company SMG Plc, said it had outperformed rivals during its first half.

Our outperformance has continued into the second half, Chief Executive John McCann said in a statement on Monday. He said that although the advertising environment remained difficult, he was confident about the second half.

UTV said like for like advertising revenues at both its British and Irish radio businesses rose 16 percent in the six months to end June while television advertising revenue fell by 6 percent, outperforming the broader ITV network.

UTV, which operates the ITV franchise in Northern Ireland, was posting first half results including a 5 percent rise in pretax profit to 8.5 million pounds on turnover up 60 percent to 57 million pounds, boosted by acquisitions.

The interim dividend was raised 5 percent to 5.0 pence.

UTV also owns also owns the TalkSport national radio station and a raft of local commercial radio stations, mainly in northwest England. SMG owns Virgin Radio, most of Scotland's commercial TV network.

On August 29, SMG, which owns Virgin Radio, most of Scotland's commercial TV network and neighbouring Grampian TV, said it had rejected a revised merger proposal from UTV that would have given SMG shareholders a 52 percent stake in the combined firm.

UTV, which said at the time it was considering its position, made no reference to SMG in its results statement.