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Hinduja's IMCL gets Rs 1.4 bn carriage fee boost as revenue ups 50% in FY'09
MUMBAI: Hinduja-owned IndusInd Media and Communications Ltd, which runs its cable TV business under the Incablenet brand, has earned a carriage revenue of Rs 1.4 billion in FY'09.

The company has invested Rs 500 million towards acquisition of cable networks even as it has expanded its footprint from 14 to 20 cities.

"Almost 50 per cent of our turnover for FY'09 has come from carriage. Our investments towards cable TV operations is Rs 700 million. While we have spent Rs 500 million for acquiring cable networks, the remaining Rs 200 million has come in the form of digitalisation and other upgrades," says a source in the company.

The media segment of Hinduja Ventures Ltd (HVL) has posted a 50.77 jump in revenue to Rs 3 billion for the fiscal ended 31 March 2009, up from Rs 1.99 billion a year ago. Operating profit surged 27.79 per cent to Rs 324.51 million, as against the previous year's Rs 253.94 million.

HVL announced that the capital employed by the company in the media segment was Rs 3.66 billion during the fiscal under review compared to Rs 1.63 billion in FY'08.

For the fourth-quarter ended 31 March 2009, the media segment reported a revenue of Rs 780.40 million, up 28.86 per cent as compared to Rs 605.64 million in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Operating profit from the segment (PBT) slipped 57.12 per cent to Rs 37.91 million as against Rs 88.46 million in the year ago period.

The segment includes financials of subsidiaries and joint ventures of IMCL.

On a consolidated basis, the total income of HVL in the fourth quarter stood at Rs 821.31 million as against Rs 709.61 million a year ago. For the full fiscal, income stood at Rs 3.40 billion as compared to Rs 2.60 billion in the prior-year period.

Total expenses of the company increased to Rs 761.26 million in the quarter as against Rs 532.80 million in the previous year. This was mainly because of increase in payout to broadcasters as subscription fee, which rose to Rs 349.02 million in the quarter as against Rs 227.23 million in the previous year.

However, for the year depreciation on capital investments increased the expenses of the company. “The drop in consolidated net profits was mainly on account of depreciation on capital investments made in technology upgrades and digitisation and investment in new geographies by major subsidiary IMCL, which led to higher content acquisition cost for expanded reach,” the company said.

HVL also remained hopeful for the future saying that the “returns from these investments are likely to accrue in coming quarters as IMCL pursues growth in new geographic areas.”

The expenditure for the full fiscal remained at Rs 2.73 billion as compared to Rs 1.80 billion in the previous fiscal.

HVL's net profit for the quarter dipped 44.61 per cent at Rs 65.91 million, compared to Rs 118.99 million. For the fiscal, net profit stood at Rs 557.24 million as against Rs 632.78 million.

IMCL claims its cable TV operations runs across five million subscribers across 20 cities. It offers 200 channels in the digital mode and about 90 channels in the analog mode, which are a part of the digital package. It has a backbone of over 6000 kilometers of fibre optic network through which it offers broadband services with national ISP license.

The company also has interest in content creation, acquisition and aggregation. IMCL has installed over 180,000 set top boxes in Cas areas and 170,000 digital boxes in non-Cas areas, the company said.

Besides media, HVL also has real estate business under its umbrella.

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