UTV has announced a pre-tax profit of £1m for the first six months of 2015, compared to £10m for the same period in 2014. 

The broadcaster had group revenue of £58.3m - compared to £57.8m this time last year.

UTV Ireland, which was launched at the start of the year, had a lower-than-expected turnover of £4.9m, which UTV said was a result of a slower build in audience numbers.

Factoring in costs of £12.4m, operating losses at the new channel were £7.5m for the first half of the year.

This created an overall operating loss in UTV's television division of £3.3m.

Richard Huntingford, Chairman, UTV Media plc, said: "The challenges of establishing a new television channel are evident in these results which reflect thesignificant losses incurred by UTV Ireland in its first six months on air. 

"Less evident, but not to be lost sight of, is the inherent value created by the establishment of a mainstream television channel in Europe's fastest growing economy, with long term licensing, programme supply and infrastructure in place." 

The group made no further comment on negotiations to sell its television division, which were reported on earlier in the week. 

In addition to its television channel, UTV also owns a network of radio stations across Ireland and Britain - including FM104 in Dublin and Talksport in London.