Astro Q1 net profit doubles to $ 151.24 million

MUMBAI: Astro All Asia Networks plc's net profit has doubled to RM39.8 million ( $ 151.24 mn) in the first quarter ended 30 April 2005 on strength of higher subscriber growth.

Consolidated revenues rose 21 per cent to RM473.2 million ($180 bn) during this period. The pay-television business registered a gain of 65,000 subscribers, bringing the total to 1.76 million.

The continuing growth in profitability and cash flow in its existing business would provide strong support as the group extended its multimedia platform and content businesses into the region, Astro chairman Datuk Badri Masri said.

Astro also announced a $4.25 million (US$1 = RM3.80) investment for a 51 per cent stake in All Asia Television Broadcast Ltd. Hong Kong's Yes Television will hold the remaining stake in a venture that would distribute two 24-hour football channels in the Asian region.

The venture will broadcast GOALTV 1 and 2, which carry the official channels of English Premier League's top football clubs, namely Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal. Astro will begin the broadcast in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia later this year.

In December 2004, Astro and South Indian media major Sun TV had entered into a $ 25 million agreement for the establishment of a joint venture to originate, aggregate and distribute television programming and channels for global audience. Also proposed in the deal were a Bengali channel for distribution in India, South East Asia and other markets within the Bengali diaspora., and a Tamil channel in Malaysia on the Astro platform. While the Bengali channel Surjo is targeting a September launch, the Tamil channel Sun TV will be launched in July.

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