Zee Telefilms net profit down 17% in Q4- 05

MUMBAI: Zee Telefilms' net profit has fallen by 16.9 per cent to Rs 370.40 million for the quarter ended 31 March, 2005, as compared to Rs 445.90 million a year ago.

Total income, however, has increased 2.78 per cent to Rs 1951 million, from Rs 1898.20 million during this period.

Essel Group chief executive officer of corporate strategy and finance Rajiv Garg explains the quarter's performance: "Other income was lower while depreciation was higher in the quarter. But overall we have grown."

Net profit for the fiscal ended 31 March 2005 surged 40 per cent to Rs 1606.40 million, as compared to Rs 1150.20 million a year ago. Total Income has increased to Rs 7497.40 million, up from Rs 6024.90 million.

Zee's consolidated net profit for the quarter ended 31 March 2005 increased marginally by 2 per cent to Rs 926.90 million, as compared to Rs 908.50 million a year ago. Zee has provided Rs 47 million as losses on account of a settlement with Padmalaya Enterprises Private Ltd. (PEPL). "We provided for loss of Rs 47 million on account of difference between fair market value of land and the book value of the investments in PEPL," Zee says in a release.

Total income actually fell to Rs 4001.70 million, as compared to Rs 4104.90 million during the period. "This is because the consolidated results do not include Padmalya this time," says Garg.

The Group's net profit for the financial year stood at Rs 3174.80 million, as compared to Rs 2730.80 million during this period. Total Income rose marginally to Rs 14490 million, up from Rs 14360.60 million.

The consolidated results include the financials of ETC Networks Limited (ETC) for the fourth quarter of FY2005. The financials of Padmalaya are not consolidated since Zee has divested its stake in the company.

Advertisement revenue was Rs 6678.7 million for the fiscal ended 31 March 2005, up 5 per cent from Rs 6355.2 million a year ago. Subscription revenue was Rs 6502.9 million, as compared to Rs 6025.6 million. Domestic subscription revenue, including DTH, was Rs 723 million for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2005.

"We have around 2, 00,000 DTH subscribers. After slashing prices by half, we are adding up almost 2,500 subscribers a day. The average revenue per user (ARPU) is Rs 191," says Garg.

Under the new Dish TV offer, subscribers can get a new DTH connection for Rs 3,990 including the digital set-top box and one year's subscription fees.

Commenting on the result, Zee Telefilms CMD Subhash Chandra says in an official release, "Though we had a fairly good fourth quarter, we are set for a better performance in FY2006. We have made quite a few critical changes, which would allow us to be more productive, going forward. Starting with appointment of Pradeep Guha as CEO for our content business, we have put in place a very strong management team. We are happy that our efforts to further improve the quality of content have started to show results."

Adds Guha, "Our effort of improving the product quality is an ongoing one and would translate into increased consumer demand. The re-branding exercise we undertook during the quarter weaves a thread of common identity between our many diverse brands and brings us closer to our younger audience."

Zee has reduced its gross debt by Rs 3.7 billion to Rs 1 billion during the year, excluding the FCCB issue.

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