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HT Media Q3 net at Rs 184.2 mn; demerges Hindi business; shuts down Metro Now

19-January-2010
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HT Media Q3 net at Rs 184.2 mn; demerges Hindi business; shuts down Metro Now

HT Media more than doubled its net profit in the third quarter ended December 31, 2009 to Rs 184.2 million from Rs 78.2 million in Q3 FY09 due to sharp increase in circulation and advertising revenues. The company has demerged its Hindi business that includes daily ‘Hindustan’, magazines ‘Nandan’ and Kadambini’ during the quarter for Rs 1.4 billion and has temporarily shut down the loss making JV with BCCL, ‘Metro Now’.

However, the company’s total revenue decreased by 3 per cent at Rs 3,289.8 million on standalone basis. On consolidated basis, the revenues of the company have increased 6 per cent to Rs 3,661 million from Rs 3,457 million on account of 30 per cent increase in circulation revenues from Rs 390 million to Rs 508 million. This has been largely due to increase in the number of copies circulated, improved realisations and increase in cover price effective Q1 FY10. The advertising revenues showed a growth of 3 per cent from Rs 2,780 million to Rs 2,855 million.

HT Media’s radio business, Fever 104 FM, which operates in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, increased its revenue to Rs 101 million from Rs 67 million. The radio business is expected to breakeven at operating level during the quarter. Increase in profit margin has also been aided by the benefits of lower newsprint prices kicking in, including various cost optimisation measures initiated since Q3 FY09. By the end of Q2 FY10, the company had started consumption of lower costing imported newsprint. As part of this measure, the company has temporarily shut down loss making JV with BCCL, ‘Metro Now’, which was started in 2007 and accordingly has impaired goodwill of Rs 1 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2009.

In order to focus on the regional media, the company demerged its Hindi business into a separate entity, namely, Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd. In a prepared statement, Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson and Editorial Director, HT Media, said, “The vernacular segment remains a strong thrust area for the company.” In order to strengthen its presence in western Uttar Pradesh, the company has commissioned its own printing facility in Agra during the quarter, a company release said, adding, “With this expansion, the company now proposes to commission new printing facility at one more key location in the near future.”

The company’s online job portal, shine.com, a part of its subsidiary Firefly e-Ventures Ltd, reported 3.5 million registered users. During the quarter, the company also invested Rs 193.8 million in its subsidiary HT Budra Media Ltd, a joint venture with German media company Hubert Burda Media and spent Rs 195.99 million in its subsidiary, HT Digital Media Holdings, against issue of compulsorily convertible debentures.

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