Chinen Das has been appointed President of Vijayanand Printers Ltd (VPL) in which Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL) has picked up 100 per cent stake. While the financial size of the deal could not be ascertained, the appointment of Das is with immediate effect. He moves from his position as Director – Response (South), The Times of India.
The signing took place on Thursday, June 15, 2006. Das will continue to be based in Bangalore in his new role.
Said Vineet Jain, Managing Director of BCCL, the parent company of the Times Group “This agreement highlights our strong emphasis on the fast-growing regional mindsets. We are committed to going local and further developing strong regional identities so as to provide the best possible value to our new readership and advertiser base.”
Confirming his appointment, Das said, “The role right now is to develop and implement strategy for market dominance; an effective integration of the two groups; and from the revenue point of view, unlocking the value of the acquisition. It’s a huge responsibility and challenge, and the expectations from shareholders are very high. I am looking forward to it.”
Das will be President of VPL, heading business operations. VPL publishes the leading Kannada daily Vijaya Karnataka, English daily Vijay Times, and Kannada daily Usha Kirana.
VPL Chairman Vijay Sankeshwar said the group, having sold the media business, would now focus on expanding its logistics venture, besides entering new businesses. “This sale will allow Vijayanand Roadlines Ltd., the promoters of VPL, to focus on major expansion and diversification plans for its logistics business as well as develop other new businesses,” he said.
The development is significant as it marks the coming together of the market leader among English dailies in the Bangalore market, The Times of India, with the leading Kannada daily Vijaya Karnataka. The move also marks BCCL’s entry into the regional language publishing space in the South.
All three VPL publications – Vijay Karnataka, Usha Kiran and Vijay Times – have ten editions. While Vijaya Karnataka is the leader in the Kannada newspaper segment with circulation in excess of 5.5 lakh (July-Dec 2005, ABC), Vijay Times enjoys No. 1 position outside Bangalore and in all other districts of Karnataka in the English language segment. “The Vijay Group newspapers has established a leadership position in Karnataka in a very short period of time and this position will now be consolidated in the hands of The Times of India Group,” Sankeshwar said.
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