Den plans to raise Rs 7.5 billion

MUMBAI: Sameer Manchanda-promoted Den Networks plans to dilute 10-15 per cent stake to build a fund corpus that would allow it to expand aggressively in a digital environment.

The multi-system operator (MSO) has passed an enabling resolution to raise fresh capital up to Rs 7.5 billion, via a mix of quasi equity/debt instrument, as it expects digitisation to drive consolidation in the cable TV sector.
"We will probably raise capital over the next 6-9 months. We want to be best positioned when the opportunity comes to spread digitisation across the country," says Den Networks president - strategy and business development MG Azhar.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recently recommended a four-phase digitisation process while setting a sunset date of 31 December 2013 for complete switchover to digital cable. The first phase shift from analogue to digital cable in the four metros of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai should be complete by 31 March 2011.

The government, however, is yet to publicly voice its views on the sector regulator‘s recommendations.

"There is a clear path for digitisation. The timelines may shift, depending on the government. But we want to be ready to grab the opportunity when it comes. Digitisation will drive consolidation in the cable TV sector," says Azhar. 
Den will tap the GDR (global depositary receipts) market if it decides to raise fresh capital before November, says a source close to the company.

Den will be open to other instruments like QIP (qualified institutional placement) and FCCBs including GDR if the fund-raising activity happens after that, he adds.

The company had raised Rs 3.7 billion via an initial public offering (IPO) in November 2009.

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