Deccan Chronicle, Andhra Pradesh's largest selling English newspaper, is going public in order to bankroll its strategic growth initiatives, including acquisitions.
“We want to strengthen our position in the south through mergers and acquisitions,” said PK Iyer, executive director of Deccan Chronicle Holdings, the company that brings out the newspaper.
Deccan Chronicle will file the draft red herring prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) in the next 10-15 days. The bookbuilt IPO is likely to close before Diwali. The company will issue fresh shares for the IPO, constituting approximately 20 per cent of its fully diluted post-offer paid-up capital.
There will also be a greenshoe option of 15 per cent of the equity shares offered in the IPO. If the option is exercised in full, the issue will make up 22 per cent of Deccan Chronicle's post-issue equity capital. ICICI Securities has been appointed the book running lead manager.
Although the price band for the IPO is yet to be worked out, the company has internally been valued at Rs 1,400 crore. “We are looking at a price earnings ratio of 15 upon listing,” Iyer said.
Mid-Day Multimedia, the only listed newspaper company, has a P/E of 11. It reported a net profit of Rs 9 crore on a turnover of Rs 93 crore in 2003-04.
According to Iyer, Deccan Chronicle made a profit of Rs 27 crore on a turnover of Rs 122 crore in 2003-04. “As we have increased our advertising rates, we expect a profit of Rs 42 crore and a turnover of Rs 160-175 crore in 2004-05,” he said. For the 12-month period ending September 2005, the company has projected a profit of Rs 71 crore.
As per Iyer, the Chennai edition of the paper, which is expected to roll out in January 2005, will substantially boost the company's profits.
At present, DCHL is owned fully by brothers T Venkattram Reddy and T Vinayak Ravi Reddy. While Venkattram Reddy is the chairman of the company, Vinayak Ravi Reddy is the managing director.
MJ Akbar is the editor-in-chief of Deccan Chronicle. The Reddy brothers and Akbar also bring out The International Herald Tribune from Hyderabad.
There are seven editions of Deccan Chronicle printed from Hyderabad/Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Rajmundry, Vizag, Anantapur, Karimnagar and Nellore. Apart from Deccan Chronicle, DCHL also publishes Andhra Bhoomi in Telugu.