ETC Networks to buy back equity shares in open market

MUMBAI: ETC Networks has decided to buy back the company's equity shares up to 10 per cent of paid up capital from the open market at a maximum price of Rs 50 per share.

"The company had cash resources and we thought this would be the best way to return value to the shareholders. This will only improve the earnings per share and provide higher earnings for the shareholders," says ETC Networks director finance Vikas Gupta.

With the buyback, Zee Telefilms' holding in ETC Networks will go up from 51 per cent to around 56 per cent, Gupta adds.

ETC's board also met today to approve the audited results for the last quarter and year-ended 31 March 2005. The Board has recommended a dividend at Rs 1 per share (10 per cent) for the year ended 31st March 2005.

Net profit dipped to Rs 8 million for the last quarter of the fiscal, from Rs 79.2 million a year ago. "Because of the merger with E-Connect we had a tax benefit last year. There was no such tax shelter this year," explains Gupta.

Total income, however, grew to Rs 120.1 million as against Rs 108.8 million. Profit before tax also rose to Rs 14.6 million, up from Rs 10.6 million during this period.

Net profit for the financial year ended March 31 2005 decreased to Rs 72.2 million, as against Rs 157.8 million a year a year ago. Total income, though, increased to Rs 478.7 million, up from Rs 443 during this period. "There was a nominal decrease in the operating profit for the year due to our increased spend on programming and marketing expenses," says Gupta.

Along with many small events, the Company has recently conducted mega events like Baisakhi Blast´ and Punjabi Music Awards. "ETC Music has lined up seven musical events to enrich its Saturday programming. With these events, the Company has opened up new revenue streams which will have substantial impact on revenue and profits," Gupta adds.

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