Cable TV

Q1-17: Infrastructure leasing segment pulls down Ortel’s numbers

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BENGALURU: The Bibhu Prasad Rath led regional cable television and broadband internet player Ortel Communications Limited (Ortel) reported less than one third  ( 1/3.6 times) profit after tax (PAT) for the quarter ended 30 June 2016 (Q1-17, current quarter). Ortel reported PAT in Q1-17 at Rs 0.86 crore (1.6 percent margin) as compared to Rs 3.05 crore (7.5 percent margin) in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The improved performance by company’s cable and broadband segments were pulled down by the lower execution of the company’s Infrastructure Leasing segment. Cable TV and broadband segments are the major contributors to Ortel’s numbers.

Ortel provides services in the Indian states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

Ortel’s Total Income from Operations (TIO) increased 29.1 percent year-over-year (y-o-y) in the current year to Rs 52.42 crore as compared to Rs 40.60 crore in Q1-16. TIO declined marginally (declined 1.6 percent) quarter-over-quarter (q-o-q) from Rs 53.28 crore in Q4-16.

Company speak:

Ortel President and CEO Rath said, “We have begun the year on a positive note with healthy results in our Cable Television and Broadband segments. This is reflected in the revenues which grew y-o-y by 45 percent and 26 percent respectively in Q1-17. I am also pleased to highlight that the total subscriber addition stood strong at 68,949 during the quarter taking our total subscriber base to 770,141. Our profitability however was impacted during the period under review primarily due to lower quarterly execution in the  Infrastructure Leasing business. Going forward I expect Infrastructure Leasing business to return back to normalcy in the coming quarters as execution picks up.

Revenue breakup

Cable TV revenue in Q1-17 increased 44.9 percent y-o-y to Rs 41.20 crore from Rs 28.43 crore in Q1-16 and increased 5.3 percent q-o-q from Rs 39.14 crore.

Cable TV Activation fees or connection fees in Q1-17 were  almost 7 times at Rs 4.6 crore as compared to Rs 0.7 crore in Q1-16, but declined 23.8 percent q-o-q from Rs 6 crore. Cable TV subscription revenue in Q1-17 increased 38.7 percent y-o-y to Rs 27.7 crore from Rs 20 crore and increased 11.5 percent q-o-q from Rs 24.8 crore. Channel carriage fees in the current quarter increased 14.3 percent y-o-y to Rs 8.9 crore from Rs 7.8 crore and increased 7.8 percent q-o-q from Rs 8.3 crore.

Broadband services revenue in Q1-17 increased 26 percent to Rs 9.5 crore from Rs 7.5 crore in Q1-16 and increased 6.3 percent q-o-q from Rs 8.9 crore. Internet connection fees in Q1-17 increased 13.4 percent y-o-y to Rs 0.7 crore from Rs 0.6 crore and increased 1.6 percent q-o-q. Internet subscription fees in Q1-17 increased 27 percent y-o-y to Rs 8.8 crore from Rs 7 crore and increased 6.6 percent q-o-q from Rs 8.3 crore.

Ortel’s revenue from its infrastructure leasing segment in Q1-17 declined 75.4 percent to Rs 10 crore from Rs3.9 crore in Q1-16 and declined 78.4 percent q-o-q from Rs 4.4 crore.

On a geographical basis, in the current quarter, revenue from Ortel’c core market – Odisha increased 13.9 percent to Rs 42.2 crore from Rs 37.1 crore but declined 5.3 percent q-o-q from Rs 44.6 crore. EBIDTA from the Odisha region in Q1-17 increased 5.5 percent y-o-y to Rs 17.2 crore from Rs 16.3 crore but declined 14.3 percent q-o-q from Rs 20.1 crore

Revenue from Ortel’s Emerging Markets (Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and West Bengal) more than tripled (3.2 times) y-o-y to Rs 9.7 crore in q1-17 from Rs 3 crore and increased 15.3 percent q-o-q from Rs 8.4 crore. Emerging markets reported lower negative EBIDTA in Q1-17 at Rs 0.7 crore as compared to a negative EIDTA of Rs 1 crore in Q1-16  and same as the negative EBIDTA of Rs 0.7 crore in Q4-16.

Subscription numbers (revenue generating units – RGUs’), ARPU

During the current quarter, the total subscribers (both cable and television) stood at 770,141 subscribers. Net addition in Q1-17 stood at 68,949 as compared to 74,717 subscriber additions in Q4-16. Percentage of digital TV subscribers in Q1-17 increased to 43.6 from 37.1 in the immediate trailing quarter.

Television ARPU’s have been falling. Analog and Digital TV ARPU stood as Rs. 141 per month and Rs. 169 per month respectively. Digital ARPU in Q1-16 was Rs 185 and in Q4-16, it was Rs 178.

The company added 5,124 broadband subscribers in Q1-17, taking its total broadband subscriber count to 77.609.

Broadband ARPU in the current quarter increased to Rs 401 from Rs 393 in Q1-16 and Rs 398 in Q4-16.

Let us look at the other numbers reported by Ortel in brief.

Higher y-o-y total expenses (TE) in Q1-17 have also resulted in the lower PAT numbers for Q1-17 vis-à-vis Q1-16. Ortel’s TE in the current quarter increased 33.2 percent y-o-y to Rs 45.86 crore (87.5 percent of TIO) as compared to Rs 34.42 crore (84.8 percent of TIO), and increased 2.3 percent q-o-q from Rs 44.82 crore (84.1 percent of TIO).

Programming cost in Q1-17 came in higher at Rs. 10 crore. Employee expenses during the current quarter stood higher y-o-y at Rs. 6.22 crore. EBITDA in Q1-17 (including other income) came in at Rs. 12.51 crore, representing a q-o-q decline of 6.1 percent.

Note: The unit of currency in this report is the Indian rupee - Rs (also conventionally represented by INR). The Indian numbering system or the Vedic numbering system has been used to denote money values. The basic conversion to the international norm would be:

(a) 100,00,000 = 100 lakh = 10,000,000 = 10 million = 1 crore.

(b) 10,000 lakh = 100 crore = 1 arab = 1 billion.

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