WWIL lines up Rs 2.5 bn debt, plans to deploy 2.5 mn STBs in first phase

MUMBAI: Wire and Wireless (India) Limited, lagging behind the other leading multi-system operators like Hathway Cable & Datacom and Den Networks, is planning a revival.

The Subhash Chandra-promoted MSO has lined up a debt of Rs 2.50 billion from a consortium of banks and is looking at deploying Rs 2.5 million set-top boxes in the three metros of Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai that fall under the first phase of digitisation mandated by the government.

The company appointed Anil Malhotra, who was earlier with Digicable, as its chief operating officer a few months back after its CEO Sudhir Agarwal quit the company.

Mahipal Rawat has also joined from Digicable as WWIL COO - Siticable. He was national head operations -Analog at Digicable.

“We are importing 2.5 million STBs and have obtained line of credit. We have a presence in three of the metros that fall under the first phase of digitisation, unlike many of the other MSOs who have a footprint in two of them. We are positive about digitisation,” says Malhotra.

WWIL has a debt of around Rs 3.30 billlion, according to data till 30 September 2011. For the fiscal ended 31 March 2011, the company posted consolidated operating revenue of Rs 3.06 billion, up 12 per cent from the earlier year, while net loss narrowed to Rs 659.2 million. In the third quarter of the fiscal ended 31 December 2011, its net loss stood at Rs 147.3 million, widening from Rs 103.9 million posted a year ago, while operating revenue rose 17.1 per cent to Rs 871.7 million.

“We have firmed up debt of Rs 2.5 billion from a consortium of banks. Our network and digital head-ends are ready in Delhi and Kolkata and we will need some capex in Mumbai. We are geared up for digitisation,” said WWIL finance head Sanjay Goyal.

WWIL had raised Rs 4.48 billion from rights issue and its cash reserves stood at around Rs 800 million till 30 September 2011.

“We have reduced our head-ends and are centralising them. Our eventual plan is to have one national digital head-end,” says Malhotra.

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