Zee Group’s demerged entities, Zee News Ltd and Wire and Wireless India Ltd begin trading on the bourses from January 10, 2007. Both the companies have been listed independently on the BSE and NSE, while ZNL has been listed on the Calcutta Stock Exchange too. It couldn’t be ascertained whether WWIL too would be listed on the Calcutta Stock Exchange at the time of filing the story.
Harish Doraiswamy, CEO, ZNL, said, “It’s an important step for us. We are going to be an independent company now, so it places a higher responsibility on us to make sure that the shareholder’s interest are protected and the regulations are complied in letter and spirit. It places a great deal of emphasis to ensure that the actions taken by us should enhance the shareholder’s value.”
ZNL is however not looking at issuing an IPO at this point of time. Doraiswamy said, “We do not envisage going for an IPO at this stage, and if at all we do look at it in the future, we will run business through internal cash generation.”
The broadcasting business of Zee Telefilms Ltd, which post the demerger has been hived off into Zee News Ltd (ZNL) include channels like Zee News, Zee Business, Zee Marathi, Zee Bangla, Zee Punjabi, Zee Gujarati, Zee Telugu, Zee Kannada and Chobbees Ghanta.
The focus of ZNL now is to consolidate its existing business and make them grow. Apart from that, the company is also gearing up to launch its Marathi news channel, 24 Tas, which is slated for launch on January 26, 2007.
Going forward, ZNL will be betting big on the regional space. Currently, with six regional entertainment channels in its fold, plans are afoot to look at Tamil and Malayalam too (both entertainment as well as news) in the long term. Said Doraiswamy, “Our vision is to cater to all the major linguistic denominations in the country for we feel that the opportunity in this space is manifold.”
Zee News Ltd clocked around Rs 150 crore during April-November 2006. When queried on the growth targets in the future, Doraiswamy said, “For the next five years, we are expecting our turnover to be at the compounded growth rate of about 35 per cent.”
The company believes in growing its viewership by getting its content and marketing in place. However, ZNL would not focus much on its marketing spend as it feels that there is access to advertising inventory through its own network of channels.
As per the demerger scheme, shareholders of ZTL are entitled to get 45 shares of ZNL and 50 shares of WWIL for every 100 shares held in ZTL.
When contacted, WWIL (cable television business) CEO, Jagjit Singh Kohli, said, “We are very happy that we are finally getting listed. We will be India’s first multi-service operator to be listed on the stock exchange. We are happy that from now shareholders can participate in our growth story.”
Kohli sounded quite bullish about the company’s growth, which he termed would be an ‘explosive one’. He said, “We will convert this opportunity into a business which is not just for the benefit of the company but for the shareholders too.”
When queried on the secondary issue of the company, Kohli said, “We will see how we go about raising money. It will be either through preferential issue of shares or through qualified institutional placement.” He, however, refused to put any time frame as to when it will happen. All he said was “in due course of time.”