Television

Zee to delist from Ahmedabad, Delhi exchanges

NEW DELHI: The board of directors of the Subhash Chandra-promoted Zee Telefilms Ltd (ZTL), at its meeting held today, has approved the proposal to commence broadcasting of Zee TV and Zee Cinema channels from India. The company has already obtained permission of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for the same.

The board also approved the de-listing of the company's shares from Ahmedabad and Delhi Stock Exchange.

"Shifting of broadcast of these channels would help garner advertising revenue from non-exporting advertisers, cost saving on account of foreign exchange remittances and help bring about operational efficiency in the wake of introduction of conditional access system (CAS) and direct-to-home (DTH) technologies for distribution," an official statement, quoting Rajiv Garg, CEO, corporate strategy and finance, Essel Group, said here today.

ZTL's total revenues and profitability is expected to show a substantial increase on standalone basis. The major upside would, off course, remain the incremental advertisement revenue on account of company's ability to sell airtime to non-exporting entities also.

The company has finalized arrangements with Essel Shyam Communication Limited, with its facilities on the outskirts of Delhi at NOIDA, to playout and uplink these channels. These channels would continue to be broadcast using the same transponder on Asiasat 3 satellite.

According to Garg, "With this re-organisation, the company would offer leading Hindi Zee channels to non-exporting Indian businesses for the first time in Indian broadcasting history presenting them with an excellent option to maximize their marketing strategy."

55% DIVIDEND APPROVED

In its Annual General Meeting held immediately after the board meeting, payment of dividend at the rate of 55 per cent was approved for the year 2002-03.

The general body also approved the annual accounts and the re-appointment of N C Jain and B K Syngal to the board of directors and also the appointment of S P Talwar as an independent director. Talwar has had a distinguished career and retired as a deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

The board also approved the de-listing of the company's shares from Ahmedabad and Delhi Stock Exchange.

Salient features of the audited results of the company are as follows: the company has reported a consolidated turnover growth of 12.2 per cent to Rs. 12,079 million and a growth in operating profit of 23.5 per cent; net profit for the year, excluding exceptional items, recorded a 33.5 per cent growth to Rs. 2,599 million; overall subscription revenues turned in an excellent performance globally with 54.5 per cent growth to Rs. 4,849 million; domestic pay revenues continued to build on the momentum gathered last year, with a strong increase of 81.4 per cent over last year. During the year, subscription revenues contributed 40 per cent to the total revenues, up from 29 per cent last year.

International businesses continued to grow leading to 41.9 per cent growth in international revenues. During the financial year 2003, 25.2 per cent of revenues came from markets other than India. Cash flows helped reduce term borrowings by Rs. 810 million and the process has continued during FY 2004, resulting in further reduction of debt. Focused cost control has enabled to improve operating margins substantially from 28.3 per cent in FY2002 to 31.1 per cent in FY2003.

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