Hit Entertainment plc.

HIT ENTERTAINMENT PLC: Highlights

    London (ots) -

    HIT ENTERTAINMENT PLC PRELIMINARY ANNOUNCEMENT

    Year ended 31 July 2003


                                                 2003                                        2002


    Turnover                              £168.9m                                 £121.0m

    Business Performance

    Operating profit *              £44.4m                                    £28.5m

    Profit before tax*              £39.7m                                    £27.3m

    Underlying basic earnings
    per ordinary share                16.7p                                      13.2p

    EBITDA*                                £59.0m                                    £45.2m

    Operating cash flow            £53.2m                                    £43.1m

    Statutory Results

    Operating profit                 £20.4m                                    £19.5m

    Profit before tax                £25.4m                                    £18.3m

    Basic earnings per share      10.0p                                        8.0p

    Dividend per share                0.64p                                      0.32p

    Net (debt)/ funds          (£133.6m)                                      £5.9m

    *pre exceptionals and goodwill amortisation.

    The operating profit amount is calculated as statutory operating profit of £20.4 million (2002: £19.5 million) plus exceptional expenses of £5.9 million (2002: £0.9 million) and goodwill amortisation of £18.1 million (2002: £8.1 million). Throughout this announcement (unless otherwise stated) adjusted performance measures are presented to provide a better indicator of business performance. Reconciliations of these measures to the statutory amounts have been provided in this announcement.

    Business Highlights

    - Consolidated revenues up 40% to £168.9 million

    - Profit before tax (excluding exceptionals and goodwill
        amortisation) rose 45% to £39.7 million

    - Successful integration of Gullane, enhancing brand portfolio and
        bringing efficiencies and operational benefits that are already
        exceeding expectations

    - Strong operating cash flow, up 23% to £53.2 million

    - Net debt at year end of £133.6 million, down from a high of  
        £167.3 million (September 2002)

    - Dividend increased by 100%, demonstrating strong cash generation
        and confidence in the future, to 0.64p per share (2002: 0.32p)

    - Underlying basic earnings per ordinary share (pre exceptionals
        and goodwill amortisation) up 27% to 16.7p

    - HIT now owns one of the strongest portfolios of internationally
        popular children's properties, with no brand generating more
        than 30% of turnover

    - Successful introduction of brand-focused business structure,
        ensuring integrated approach to brand management across all
        activities

    - New Bob the BuilderTM toy partners, committed to new product and
        extensive marketing support

    Chief Executive, Rob Lawes commented:

    "I believe we can look forward to the future with confidence: in the US and UK the home entertainment market is growing; similarly the consumer products' market in those territories sees continuing year-on-year growth; and the demand for quality content from broadcasters worldwide is increasing alongside the launch of new children's channels. Against that background HIT is now positioned as a global market leader, possessing one of the strongest portfolios of young children's content. Such strong positioning we believe is the key to the Company's continuing success."

    There will be an analysts briefing at 9.30am today (3rd October, 2003) at the offices of UBS, 1 Finsbury Avenue, London EC2.

                            This information is provided by RNS
          The company news service from the London Stock Exchange

ots Originaltext: Hit Entertainment plc
Internet: www.newsaktuell.ch

Contact:
Rob Lawes, Chief Executive        
Phone: +44/20/7554'2500

Steve Ruffini, Chief Financial Officer                                              
Phone: +1972/390'6397

Nigel Birrell, Director of Corporate Development & Acquisition
Phone: +44/20'7554'2500

Simon Forrest, Director of Corporate Communications
Phone:  +44/20'7554'2500
Mobile: +44/7885'317746



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