Updates from ITV, Admiral and Mondi


The FTSE 100 climbed again on Tuesday, hitting 6,873, up 21.33 points. Housebuilder Persimmon saw the biggest lift, up 3.24% to 1404p with Barratt Developments just behind, taking a 3.21% rise to 386.30p. ITV also lifted strongly, up 2.25% to 191p. However easyJet slipped more than 4% to 1658p, despite news of smaller-than-expected losses.

The Dow Jones also continued to climb, up almost 20 points at 16,715.

Let's start with some telly and an interim from ITV. Total external revenues climb 2% to £585m (2013: £571m) it claims. Broadcast & Online revenues are up 3% at £480m (2013: £465m) driven by 2% growth in net advertised revenue as previously anticipated, and a 14% increase in Online, Pay & Interactive.

ITV Studios claims its set to deliver good revenue growth over the full year, although the phasing of programme delivery in 2014 means Q1 is down 4% it says. ITV says it's still on track to make £10m cost savings over the full year.

"While ITV Family share of viewing," says boss Adam Crozier, "has been lower than expected so far this year we have confidence in our strong schedule to come, including the Football World Cup in June. ITV Encore - our first pay channel - is on track to launch in June."

Next, Admiral Group. Group turnover is cut 7% to £514 million (Q1 2013: £551 million) in the last quarter while the UK car insurance vehicle count up 2% at 3.08 million (Q1 2013: 3.02 million). UK car insurance turnover decreased 11% to £420 million (Q1 2013: £470 million).

"Consistent with the reduction we reported at the 2013 full year results," says Admiral, "our total premiums were down around 11% year-on-year. We continue to focus on customer service and retention and as a result, we were pleased to grow customer numbers by 2% in the quarter."

International car insurance vehicle count though rises 17% to 535,000 (Q1 2013: 458,000)
while international car insurance turnover increases 13% to £54 million (Q1 2013: £48 million).

Finally, paper and packaging operator Mondi. First quarter underlying operating profit comes in at €183 million, 13% above the comparable prior year period (€162 million) and 14% above the fourth quarter of 2013 (€161 million), in line with expectations.

Sales volumes were broadly in line with the comparable prior year period it it claims, and above the previous quarter, mainly due to the scheduling of maintenance shuts in the second half of the prior year.

"The trading environment remains mixed," it says. "As anticipated selling prices for a number of the Group's key paper grades are currently below those of the prior year. However, fundamentals in our core markets remain generally solid."