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'Deccan Chronicle' IPO to open on 25 Nov with 8m shares

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NEW DELHI: Media company Deccan Chronicle's initial public offer is set to open on 25 November with the price of share price being in the band of Rs 162 - Rs 194 per share. This IPO marks the first time in India that a mainline broadsheet newspaper will be publicly owned.

The IPO, comprising 8.01 million shares, closes on 2 December, 2004, according to an announcement made by Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited, publishers of Andhra Pradesh based newspaper Deccan Chronicle.

The Red Herring Prospectus, dated 8 November has been filed with the Registrar of Companies, Andhra Pradesh. While the final price of the shares will be determined through the book-building route, the company expects to net between Rs 1.3 billion and Rs 1.55 billion.

ICICI Securities Limited have been appointed as the book running lead managers to the issue.

In order to operate a post issue price stabilisation, the issue will have a green shoe option of 1,201,960 equity shares and ICICI Securities Limited have been appointed as the stabilisation agent in this regard.

Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited is one of the leading newspaper publishing companies in India and claims to be market leaders in the state of Andhra Pradesh with its flagship brand, Deccan Chronicle.

The capital raised by the IPO will be used for financing new printing facilities and for venturing into new territories and future strategic initiatives and acquisitions. The company has announced that it will be launching Deccan Chronicle in Tamil Nadu shortly.

The issue will constitute approximately 20 per cent of the fully diluted post offer paid-up capital assuming that the green shoe option is not exercised, and approximately 22 per cent assuming that the option is exercised in full.

An official statement from Deccan Chronicle quoted company executive director (finance) P K Iyer as saying, "Deccan Chronicle is a leading news brand and we intend to leverage our competitive strengths in other markets. Tamil Nadu will be our first destination for leveraging the Deccan Chronicle beyond Andhra Pradesh and we will be continually looking at new markets and opportunities."

According to Iyer, the global newspaper industry is characterised by an increased level of consolidation and the belief is that this is what will happen in the Indian newspaper industry also. "The IPO, therefore, is our chosen route of funding expansion, acquisition and modernisation for the group," he added.

During the current year, the company has set-up a modern print facility at Kodapur (Hyderabad), which increases the group's ability to print colour pages from four per copy to 16 pages per copy. Deccan Chronicle is circulated in Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh with seven editions printed from Vijayawada, Rajmundry, Vizag, Anantapur, Karimnagar and Nellore. The group has successfully withstood competition from most of the leading English newspapers in India and continues to be No. 1 in Andhra Pradesh.

Deccan Chronicle also publishes Andhra Bhoomi in Telugu (daily, weekly and monthly) and several supplements like Hyderabad Chronicle, Vizag Chronicle, Teen Chronicle and Coastal Chronicle, targeted at niche readers.

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