Television

Radio Mirchi plans to invest Rs 1.20 billion in phase II radio expansion

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MUMBAI: Canada-based private equity fund Double Honour Holdings Ltd (DHHL) has exited from Radio Mirchi ahead of the initial public offering (IPO), making a profit of Rs 192 million.

DHHL has sold 10 per cent of its holdings for Rs 495 million to Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL), promoter of Entertainment Network (India) Ltd which operates FM radio channel Radio Mirchi. The private equity fund had bought its stake in December 2002 for Rs 303 million at Rs 26 per share. DHHL sold 11,696,000 shares of Entertainment Network for Rs 42.34 per share.

Entertainment Network is planning to raise over Rs 1.55 billion, though the size of the IPO will depend on the price band which is yet to be fixed. The company will issue 12,000,000 equity shares of Rs 10 each at a premium through the book building process.

Entertainment Network has currently earmarked total One-Time-Entry Fee payments of Rs 1.20 billion in relation to the phase II policy and intends to fund this from the net proceeds of the IPO. "However, we cannot ascertain the exact number or category of licenses that we may secure in the Phase II bidding and the bid amounts that we may need to pay for obtaining these licenses. Further, we may exercise the option to migrate any or all of our Phase I licenses and the OTEF payable will be fixed on the basis of average bids placed by other bidders during the Phase II bidding process," the company said in its draft red herring prospectus which it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

The company also plans to invest up to Rs 350 million from the issue proceeds in the subsidiary, TIMPL (Times Innovative Media Pvt Ltd), which is into out-of-home media and event management business. "We intend to utilise this amount by subscribing to a fresh issue of shares of the subsidiary. We will grant loans to the subsidiary. The mix for such subscription of shares or loans has currently not been determined," the prospectus said.

The promoters (Times Intotainment Media Ltd and BCCL which are entities that are part of the Times Group) will together own 73.2 per cent stake in the company immediately upon completion of the IPO or 71.3 per cent in case the greenshoe option is exercised.

Radio Mirchi operates private FM radio stations in seven Indian cities including metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata. It is also the only private FM radio broadcaster in the cities of Ahmedabad, Indore and Pune.

Entertainment Network had a total income of Rs 494.62 million in the six months ended 30 September 2005, jumping 55.9 per cent over the corresponding period a year ago. The company posted a net profit of Rs 110.51 million in the first half of the current fiscal, though it had reported a net loss of Rs 178.97 million in 2004-'05. The main reason for the losses in the previous years was the high annual fixed license fees for the FM radio broadcasting stations, which was the amount of the initial bid with a 15 per cent increase per year on a cumulative basis.

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