Balaji's net profit down 3.5 %

MUMBAI: For the financial year ended 31 March, 2003, Balaji Telefilms has posted a net profit of Rs 554.08 million, down from Rs 574.14 million; a decrease of 3.50 per cent.

Speaking to, Balaji Telefilms Ltd CFO V Devarajan elucidates, "Well, this has been a flat year for the company as it has been a year of consolidation. The company this year has invested a lot of time and money in infrastructure and setting up of systems to ensure that the coming years see an increase in standards of shows and quality of programming from the Balaji stable."

There's been a big jump in depreciation from Rs 42.43 million in 2002-2003 to Rs 77.36 million in 2003 - 2004. The Rs 34.93 million increase is because the production house has made major investments in studios, equipments and sets. Devarajan adds, "These investments will ensure a reduction in our operating cost, as the cost of outsourcing and hiring will come down by a big margin."

Balaji has also reported a hike in other incomes which has seen an increase of Rs 46.62 million from the previous year. The reason for the increase is a change in the investment strategy the company follows. The CFO states, "Considering all our major investments were in the debt market across various mutual funds, and the fact that the debt market was not doing well, we decided to redeem them and reinvest it in short term funds, which reaped very good returns for the company."

Operational highlights during the year ended 31 March 2004:
-Realisation per hour from Commissioned Programming increased from Rs 1.50 mn to Rs 1.77 mn, an increase of 18 per cent.
-Investment of over Rs 91.8 million in production & post-production equipments and studios.
-Recommends final dividend of Re 1 per share (50 per cent on par value of Rs 2 per share) amounting to Rs. 51.5 million. Total Dividend for the year of Rs 3 per share (150 per cent on par value of Rs 2 per share) amounting to Rs 154.5 million.
-Cash and Cash Equivalents of Rs 770.5 million as on 31 March, 2004.

Well, some may call it sustenance, and others may call it stability, but the fact of the matter is, Balaji Telefilms for the first time has reported a negligible margin of profit. With all the new and existing players gearing up their acts, its going to be no easy play for India's leading production house

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