GTPL plans Rs 3.5 bn investment, Cisco Capital may fund digitisation in Kolkata

MUMBAI: Ahmedabad-based Gujarat Telelinks Private Ltd (GTPL), a joint venture where Hathway Cable & Datacom has 50 per cent stake, has a funding requirement of Rs 3.5 billion for digitisation.

Cisco Capital is likely to finance GTPL?s digitisation initiative in Kolkata, one of the four metros that fall under the first phase of digitisation. The MSO plans to invest Rs 1 billion and seed 500,000 digital set-top boxes (STBs) in Kolkata.

Cisco is GTPL?s technology partner for STBs. ?For Kolkata, we are looking at Cisco Capital for financing. We plan to invest around Rs 750 million-Rs 1 billion in that market. We aim to seed 500,000 STBs as Kolkata falls under the first phase of digitisation,? said GTPL CMD Anirudh Sinh Jadeja.

GTPL bought 51 per cent in Kolkata Cable and Broadband Pariseva to set foot in West Bengal.

GTPL will require Rs 2.50 billion in the second phase to digitise in towns like Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Rajkot, Nagpur and Ranchi. ?Our estimate is that we will need 1.5-1.8 million STBs in these markets. The main chunk of this will be in Gujarat where we are the largest MSO,? said Jadeja.

A dominant player in Gujarat, GTPL has also spread across Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar and, most recently, Assam. It has operations in cities such as Dhanbad, Jamshedpur, Sangli, Satara and Vidarbha. In Gujarat, it covers over 30 cities.

Will GTPL look at raising funds? ?In the first phase of digitisation, we have only Kolkata to take care of. We will get financial help from Cisco Capital. For the second phase, we still have time. We will look at vendor financing and debt from banks,? said Jadeja.

GTPL, which has expanded fast, will not pursue more acquisitions. ?We will conserve capital for digitisation. We are not looking at more acquisitions unless there is a very lucrative opportunity,? said Jadeja.

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