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Geldof's Ten Alps aims ever higher.

Ten alps Communi-cations - the media firm founded by Bob Geldof - was yesterday preparing for an expansion drive after profits rocketed fivefold last year. The group said it would soon hire more TV producers and wanted to own more rights to programmes as part of the next stage of its development, which involves becoming one of the key players in the growing independent TV sector.

Ten Alps said consoli- dation in the sector had a 'long way to go' as it battles with rivals such as Shed Productions and Wife Swap producer RDF Media for a greater share of contracts being handed out by the BBC and other broadcasters.

It has not ruled out acquisition deals, but stressed that the growth of its existing businesses were its main target and it would not overpay.

Pre-tax profits totalled pounds 628,000 in the year to March 31 after Ten Alps produced documentaries for television such as To Kill and Kill Again, about murderer Dr Harold Shipman, and music programmes for radio about Madonna and other artists.

Turnover doubled to pounds 34.75m, helping shares in Ten Alps to rise to their highest level since 2001, and valuing the firm at pounds 25m.

Ten Alps was set up by Geldof for just pounds 1 in 1999 following the sale of his earlier company, Planet 24 - best known for the Big Breakfast on Channel 4.

Geldof retains an 8.3% stake in Ten Alps, worth pounds 2m at current prices, and is a non-executive director on its board.

Ten Alps also has advertising and events divi- sions.

Ten Alps, which employs more than 150 staff, also has a 70% stake in the Teachers' TV digital channel, which broadcasts education-related shows and news.

Revenues were expected to be more than 50% higher during the six months to September 30 on a year ago, based on the increased level of TV shows in progress.

Ten Alps said 35 productions were under way for TV broadcasters such as the BBC, Sky and Discovery and it had been able to hold on to a significant number of rights to them, including The Long War - an overview of 20th-century history by Professor Niall Ferguson - for Channel 4 and Britain's Greatest Monarch for Five.

Programmes are created by specialist production companies Ten Alps TV, Blakeway, Brook Lapping, Know Comment and 3BM TV.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 14, 2005
Words:392
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