WWIL narrows Q1 net loss to Rs 47.7 mn on back of carriage, STBs

MUMBAI: Subhash Chandra-promoted Wire and Wireless (India) Limited (WWIL) has narrowed its fiscal-first quarter net loss due to a 10 per cent jump in carriage income and deployment of digital set-top boxes (STBs).

The multi-system operator (MSO) has mopped up revenue of Rs 240 million from sale of STBs in the quarter ended June 2012.

"We have deployed close to one million STBs so far. Our estimated target in the three metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, which fall under the first phase of digitisation, is 2.5 million STBs. This quarter has been good for us and we have got Rs 230-240 million from activation charges (of STBs)," says WWIL COO Anil Malhotra.

WWIL‘s carriage revenue in the quarter stands at Rs 600 million, adds Malhotra.

The MSO had in the the quarter announced that it would offer local cable operators (LCOs) a share in carriage income in DAS (Digital Adressable Systems) markets. The government has set 31 October as the sunset date for digitisation, extending it by four months from the earlier deadline.

WWIL reported net loss of Rs 47.7 million for the quarter, down from Rs 420 million a year ago.Operating profit has jumped to Rs 277.4 million, from Rs 42.8 million.

Operating revenue rose 39.8 per cent to Rs 1.12 billion. "This has been one of our best quarters," says Malhotra. "We have extended the momentum gained during the last fiscal into the first quarter of FY13. We are confident that the significant positive momentum of the business will not only continue to drive WWIL’s growth for the remainder of the fiscal year, but also strengthen the company for growth in the years to come.”

Consolidated operating expenses rose 12.6 per cent to Rs 857.6 million for the quarter ended June. Major cost item was cost of goods and services which stood at 600.5 million during the quarter, representing 53 per cent of the total revenue in comparison to Rs 567.3 million in the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal (71 per cent share of the total revenue).

How will WWIL strengthen its presence in Mumbai where it has lost ground over the years to the other MSOs? "We are reworking our plans for Mumbai. We will have some announcement to make," says Malhotra.

WWIL‘s debt stands at Rs 4.50 billion. "Our funding is in place to take care of digitisation," avers Malhotra.

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