Television

HTMT declares interim dividend of Rs 5 per share

MUMBAI: The board of directors of Hinduja TMT (HTMT), in their meeting held 5 May 2003, considered and declared an interim dividend of Rs 5 per share (50 per cent on the par value of Rs 10 per share) for the year ended 31 March 2003, amounting to Rs 204.5 million.

A press release states that the consolidated audited financial results of the company and its subsidiaries will be published on or before 30 June 2003, when the final dividend will be announced.

The release also adds that the total employee strength in its IT division, which is HTMT's core activity, grew by 55 per cent, from 953 at the beginning of the year to 1,472 by March 2003 owing to expansion in its BPO / call centre business. The release adds that the company is in the process of recruiting 200 additional CSRs / processors during the current quarter to take care of the increase in business from its existing clients and orders from new customers which are getting concluded.

Conditional Access System related announcements

The release adds that HTMT is also engaged in strengthening of IT infrastructure of its flagship subsidiary IndusInd Media & Communications Ltd (InCableNet). The company has recently entered into an agreement with Kudelski SA Switzerland and its subsidiary Nagra Vision for equity investment and CAS (conditional access system) implementation, says the release.

The release also adds that InCableNet will be issuing upto 3 per cent of its equity to Kudelski SA, at a company valuation of approximately Rs 23 billion (US$ 500 million). HTMT currently has an effective stake of 62.07 per cent in InCableNet, which the company acquired through share swap on merger of certain privately held Hinduja Group companies with itself in 2001-02.

The release also mentions that InCableNet has already placed orders for supply of CAS equipments like digital head-end, subscriber management system, billing system and set top boxes with various vendors and is well geared to meet the deadline of CAS introduction viz. 14 July 2003. 

Expansion Plans in Philippines and Mauritius

In order to broad base its service delivery capabilities and enhance its domain expertise, HTMT is in an advanced stage of negotiations for acquiring a 900 agent call centre company in the Philippines, which is likely to be ramped upto 2000 agents.

The call centre company is already serving a few Fortune 500 clients. The legal due diligence exercise by Crawford Bayley & Company, Solicitors and financial due diligence by Price Waterhouse, is nearing completion. The due diligence report would be placed before the HTMT's board later in the current month, adds a release.

HTMT is already operating a Disaster Recovery Centre (DRC) at Philippines for its US based telecom client, which is running successfully and is now considering expansion of its business to Mauritius as desired by its US Insurance customer for geographical diversity.

According to HTMT vice chairman S Solomon Raj: " The above business de-risking initiatives of the company will raise the confidence level of customers of HTMT and lead to increase in the flow of business from them."

Associate companies

The release states that the company's associate, Fascel Ltd, the largest cellular services provider in the Gujarat circle with 457,195 subscribers, has posted profits in 2002. The recent sale of Kotak Mahindra's 11 per cent stake in Fascel at Rs 920 million provides a benchmark valuation to HTMT's 19.71 per cent effective stake in Fascel, which continues to post good performance.

HTMT had acquired its stake in Fascel through share swap on merger of a privately held Hinduja Group company with itself in 2001-02.

New appointment on the board

The release also mentions that Rajendra P. Chitale, an eminent chartered accountant and a managing partner of M/s MP Chitale & Co has joined HTMT's board as an additional director. Chitale, a director on the board of important Indian corporates, is expected to add great value to the functioning of HTMT's board through his professional expertise, states the release.

On the Bombay Stock Exchange, the HTMT scrip opened the day at Rs 193.65 rose 1.93 per cent by 12 noon to hover around the Rs 196.70 mark. On the National Stock Exchange, the scrip fell slightly to Rs 194.45.

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