Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

ITV to Reveal Crunch Toll on Advertising Revenue; Taking Stock

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

ITV to Reveal Crunch Toll on Advertising Revenue; Taking Stock

Article excerpt

Byline: Iain Laing

ITV's plans for tackling the sharpest advertising slowdown in recent memory will be in the spotlight when it reports annual results next week.

Banking giant HSBC will be the last of the UK's major players to post full-year figures today after a tumultuous results season for the sector.

HSBC has dodged the worst of the downturn so far, avoiding the recapitalisations undertaken by RBS, Lloyds and Barclays.

But recent concerns over the bank's balance sheet strength have failed to die down, with shares tumbling by around a third since mid-December.

The firm was forced to publicly deny speculation over a public rescue in January when it said it "could not envisage circumstances where such action would be necessary".

It added that it was "committed to maintaining its position "as one of the world's most strongly capitalised banks".

The firm last updated on trading in November, when it said pre-tax profits in the nine months to September were below last year although third-quarter profits were higher than a year ago.

But the sharp downturn seen across the world in the final three months of last year are likely to have given a significant further dent to profits.

UBS analyst Alastair Ryan is predicting a 38% fall in pre-tax profits to pounds 10.6bn for 2008, although the lower value of the pound partially offsets the fall. He predicts HSBC could cut its dividend and launch a rights issue.

Housebuilder Persimmon is expected to give more details of its debt refinancing when it reports its finals tomorrow.

The Charles Church firm said last month it would not pay a dividend as it continued to conserve cash in the current tough trading climate.

With its focus on controlling costs, including through job cuts, Persimmon said total borrowings at the year end stood at around pounds 600m, compared with pounds 906m in June. …

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