SMG today reported a drop in turnover and profits, blaming tough trading conditions in the first half of the year.

SMG today reported a drop in turnover and profits, blaming tough trading conditions in the first half of the year.

The group, which runs ITV franchises Grampian TV and Scottish Television as well as Virgin Radio, reported a£6m drop in turnover to£86m for the six months to 30 June, while pre-tax profits nearly halved to£5.5m.

Its operating profits also fell by£5m to£13.8m. But the group did reduce debt by 40% to£246m following the completion of the£216m disposal of its publishing business.

SMG chief executive Andrew Flanagan noted that the early part of the summer saw a continuation of the weak advertising markets that have been a feature of the first half of the year, but added: ?We are already detecting signs of significant improvement in each of our businesses.?

?However, we believe that it is too early to take a view on whether or not this is the start of the sustained upturn.?