Sun TV to consolidate radio assets in Kal Radio, South Asia FM

MUMBAI: Sun TV is transferring the existing licenses of its operational radio stations to the subsidiary companies - Kal Radio Ltd and South Asia FM Ltd.

The company has applied to the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) for approval. The plan is to consolidate Sun's FM radio assets in Kal Radio and South Asia FM, the two subsidiaries who have bid for licenses under Phase II of FM radio expansion.

Sun's existing FM radio operations are in four cities. Suryan FM has licenses and operates in Chennai, Coimbatore and Tirunelveli. Udaya TV Pvt Ltd. operates Vishaka FM in Visakhapatnam and has also applied to the MIB for the transfer of the license to Kal Radio.

Some analysts expect radio operations to contribute to 20 per cent of Sun's total revenues by FY 2008. Suryan FM generated 9.3 per cent and 8.8 per cent of the total advertising income of Sun TV for fiscal 2005 and nine months ended 31 December 2005. Suryan FM was launched in Coimbatore and Tirunelveli in March and in Chennai in May 2003.

Sun TV is using the radio vehicle to expand to language markets other than Tamil and Malayalam. It plans to set up and operationalise FM radio stations in 41 cities across the country. Kal Radio has bid for stations like Bangalore and Hyderabad in the southern region while South Asia will operate in the other markets including cities like Pune, Ahmedabad and Allahabad.

Sun TV will use a major chunk of the proceeds from the initial public offering (IPO) to capitalise the radio business. The company aims to raise Rs 6.03 billion at the top end of the price band at Rs 875 per share.

Kal and South Asia FM would require an approximate of Rs 1.83 billion towards acquisition of broadcasting equipement (FM transmitters, FM antennas, payment of common infrastructure), setting up of local offices and radio studios. Besides, the inter-corporate deposits provided to the subsidiaries for bidding in Phase II amounted to around Rs 1.55 billion.

The public issue opens on 3 April and will close on 7 April.

Sun TV owns 89 per cent in Kal Radio and 94.91 per cent in South Asia FM. Promoter Kalanithi Maran holds 10.5 per cent in Kal Radio and 5.1 per cent in South Asia FM.

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