UK media company Carlton Communications is close to a deal to sell its Technicolor unit, the company said on Tuesday.

The company said the film duplication and DVD production operation could be sold off within weeks, a move which would end months of speculation. Carlton put Technicolor on the block last year as part of an aborted plan to merge with fellow media concern United News & Media.

The statement came as the company unveiled pre-tax profit this year before digital investments of $497m (£342m). Carlton posted profits of $461m (£317m) last year.

Profits were in line with analysts' forecasts this year of between $477m (£328m) and $513m (£353m). But the news was marred by the company's losses after digital investments, which came to $389m (£267.6m) compared with a profit of $137m (£94.5m) last year.

ONdigital, the digital TV joint venture of Carlton and media rival Granada Media, had secured 896,000 subscribers by mid-October. The would-be rival to satellite broadcaster BSkyB is expected to record one million subscribers by the end of the year.