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U.K. Distributor Metrodome Issues Surprise Profit Warning To Stock Watchers

Company blames harsh market conditions for TV sales division Target on slump in prospects.

LONDON – U.K. independent distribution, sales and production banner Metrodome Group, listed here on the stock exchange, issued a profit warning Thursday (Dec. 22).

The company told the stock exchange it expects operating profits to be “materially below current market expectations” on the back of a slump in sales at TV division Target.

The division, a regular at MIPTV and Mipcom boasts shows such as Scottish cop show Taggart and children's fayre Fifi and the Flowertots on its sales roster.

Metrodome ensnared the loss-making Target Entertainment in a £800,000 ($1.2 million) deal in August this year.

In a statement to the stock exchange, Metrodome said Target has

"experienced tougher-than-expected trading conditions in the final quarter of the year".

According to the statement, Target is expected to make most of its annual revenue in the last six weeks of the year but trading levels have slumped.

Metrodome Group executive chairman Mark Webster said: "Many of our customers are either not buying products at all or delaying decisions on any new purchases which has led to a worse-than-expected financial performance.”

Webster attributed much of the downturn to “adverse macro-economic conditions in Europe.”

In September this year the Metrodome posted a drop into the red for the first six months of 2011.

The company showed a loss before tax of £869,000 ($1.3 million) across the first six months of this year, higher than the £248,000 ($386,000) posted during the same period last year.

But Metrodome also said this week that U.K. theatrical and home ent banner Metrodome Distribution, which counts The Secret in their Eyes on its rollout roster, and the recently acquired classic movie library stable Hollywood Classics were "trading in line with expectations".

Metrodome snapped up Hollywood Classics – which reps classic film libraries of major studios and titles including Breakfast At Tiffany's, The Godfather and Psycho – in August for £1.6 million ($2.3 million).