Zee Telefilms shows an improved bottomline in Q1 2002

Higher subscription revenues and a tight control on costs enabled Indian media major Zee Telefilms Ltd (ZTL) to notch up a better better bottomline in Q1 2002-2003 as compared to Q1 2001-2002. Net profit is up 31 per cent to Rs 476.7 million (Rs 363 million in the corresponding previous financial quarter). Things are not that rosy on the turnover front with total revenues rising a minuscule 6.5 per cent to Rs 2488 million (Rs 2335 million).

The major contributor to the turnover rise is the 52 per cent jump in subscription revenues to Rs 1015 million (Rs 667 million). The fact that subscription collections are rising is an indicator that the company's pay TV strategy is bearing fruit. ZTL has a joint venture with AOL Time Warner to distribute its channels in India.

On the expenditure front, total expenses have stayed put at last year's Rs 1730 million. The management appears to be working on getting better systems in place as administrative and other costs have gone down. The drop has gone into investments in programming and transmission, costs for which are up by only 7 per cent.

ZTL's financials take on a different hue when Q1 numbers are compared to that of Q4 2001-2002. Net profit as against that period is down 21.5 per cent (Rs 599.1 million in Q4 2002). Total income is also down 23.3 per cent (Rs 3.24 billion in Q4 2002).

The market seemed to have not taken kindly to its financials as the stock dropped to Rs 117 after touching an intra-day high of Rs 122 with more than 3.3 million shares changing hand on the Bombay Stock exchange 

During the quarter, the Company has completed all formalities for acquiring a controlling stake in ETC Networks Limited (ETC), says a company release. It adds that the transfer of ETC promoter shares in favour of Zee Telefilms is under process and hence during the first quarter, financials of ETC have not been consolidated with that of the Company.

Additionally, Zee Telefilms, acting in concert with Padmalaya Enterprises Pvt Ltd (PEPL) has acquired, by way of preferential allotment 20,00,000 equity shares of Padmalaya Telefilms Limited (PTL) at a price of Rs. 142.2 per share. The company states that PEPL had made an open offer to acquire upto 20 per cent equity shares of PTL.

The open offer closed on 5 June 2002 and 19,25,031 shares of PTL were tendered and accepted. It adds that payment has been made to all shareholders who have tendered their shares in the open offer. Zee has funded PEPL to enable it to acquire the above shares.

The transfer of promoters 22,50,000 shares of PTL to PEPL is under process, it says. With this acquisition, the Company will have a 63.3 per cent equity stake in PEPL and PEPL will have 49.60 per cent stake in PTL

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