Balaji rides high on Q3 expectations

Jewels in the Balaji crown, Kyunki and Kahaani may have hit a plateau, but its other soaps are keeping the company on a winning growth graph, just ahead of its third quarter results.

Balaji Telefilms' stock hit an all time high of Rs 414.75 on Wednesday, rising 10.2 per cent over its previous close of Rs 376.25. Impressive third quarter results that are to be announced on 21 January have been instrumental in raising investors' expectations and pushing the share prices. The market expects the company to post a profit after tax of Rs 76 million, 76 per cent higher than in the same period last year.

The company's new high budget soaps, Kasauti Zindagi Kay on Star Plus and Kutumb and Kkusum on Sony that launched in October 2001 have also contributed to the strong performance of the Balaji stock. According to a report released by DSP Merrill Lynch, the company is riding high on the success of a slew of serials launched in the first half of the year and price increases of as much as 100 per cent on many of its running serials. In December 2001, the report notes, Balaji accounted for 16 of the top 20 Hindi satellite TV programmes on Indian television, against 9 in March 2000. 

Reports that some new serials, and even a telefilm, is expected to be aired from the Balaji stable by March 2002 has further boosted the company's image.

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