Carlton dives as FTSE 100 exit approaches

LONDON - Shares in ITV partner Carlton Communications plummeted further this morning as expectations gathered pace that the company is to be kicked off the FTSE 100 because of its declining value.

The company's share price reached an eight-year low of 255p on Friday, after falling everyday last week. It has lost around 30% since the beginning of August and today the stock has lost 7.8% to 233.5p at 2.17pm in London, while Granada fell just 1.8% to 123.75p.

Carlton and Granada's stocks have been subject to a series of downgrades by media analysts because of ITV's declining advertising revenues.

At the weekend, it was revealed that ITV's Christmas ad revenues could be down by as much as 20% on last year. ITV appears to have suffered a far greater loss of ad revenues than its terrestrial rivals and a rebranding of the ITV platform has provided no quick fix to its problems.

Advertising volume forecasts at ITV for the 10 months to October show that ITV has lost 14.5%. This compares with Channel 4, which is down just 3.9% and Channel 5, which is down 6.2%. The market is down 9.5% as a whole so far.

One school of thought suggests that ITV has been hit harder because it demanded high prices when there were fewer alternatives. Another reason could be because the BBC is broadcasting more programming with mass-market appeal, and encroaching upon ITV's share of the audience.

As a result, Carlton looks set to become a casualty when the FTSE 100 reviews its index of the UK's top 100 companies this week.

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Claire Billings, recommends

Carlton Communications

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