Sun TV files for IPO

MUMBAI: The Chennai-headquartered regional television broadcaster Sun TV Ltd has filed the red herring prospectus with Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for its proposed Initial Public Offering (IPO).

The company intends to come out with a fresh equity issue of 68,89,000 equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash, to be made entirely through the book building route.

The issue will constitute 10 per cent of the fully diluted post issue paid-up capital of the company. Following the issue, the shareholding of Sun TV Ltd principal promoter Kalanithi Maran will reduce to 89.99 per cent from 99.99 per cent (61,999,969 shares).

The other shareholders -- three individuals Kavery Maran, Mallika Maran, K Shanumugam and three promoter group companies Kal Comm Pvt Ltd, Kumgumam Publications Pvt Ltd and Kal Publications Pvt Ltd -- together hold less than 200 shares presently. The stake held in the company by M K Dayalu, wife of M Karunanidhi, was acquired by Maran for a total consideration of Rs 364.8 million at Rs 3,173 per share in October 2005.

The company has mandated Kotak Mahindra Capital Company and DSP Merril Lynch for the issue, which is slated to hit the market sometime towards the end of March or early April 2006.

The prospectus states that the proceeds of the issue will be used to beef up its subsidiaries, launch more television channels and construct its own corporate office. Investments will also be made in setting up studio facilities and up-linking infrastructure, purchasing new equipment and upgrading the existing ones.

As per the prospectus, an investment of Rs 1.14 billion would require carrying out the TV channel launches; the new office and studio facilities would need Rs 623 million and the new equipment/up-gradation would cost Rs 312.6 million.

Regarding the investments planned on its radio initiatives, Sun TV estimates a total expenditure of Rs 1.83 billion towards acquisition of broadcast equipment and setting up of 46 local offices and radio studios.

The company also anticipates a pre-operating expenditure of Rs 50 crore towards obtaining frequency allocation, Standing Advisory Committee on Radio Frequency Allocation (SACFA) clearance, overheads prior to start of commercial operations and launch expenses.

According to the prospectus, Sun TV Ltd recorded a net profit of Rs 779.2 million for FY05 (Rs 772.9 million in FY04) on a total income of Rs 3 billion (Rs 2.7 billion in FY04). For the first half of FY06, the company's net profit was Rs 625.5 million on a total income of Rs 1.6 billion. The company's net worth as of 30 September 2005 was Rs 4.7 billion; its outstanding loans were Rs 105 million.

"From fiscal 2001 to fiscal 2005, our total income grew at a compound annual growth rate of 19.5 per cent and our net profit after tax grew at a compound annual growth rate of 17.1 per cent. Our net profit after tax as a percentage of total income has averaged 27.6 per cent over the past five fiscal years," states the prospectus.

"In November and December 2005, we paid dividends of Rs 1,850 million in the aggregate and in December 2005 we made a bonus issue of Rs 600 million, and our reserves and surplus were accordingly reduced. We believe we are in a stable financial position to take advantage of future opportunities, including acquisitions, to expand our business," the prospectus adds.

The red herring prospectus says that in Tamil Nadu, the combined audience share of all Sun channels is 60 per cent compared to the 5 per cent of its closest competitor for the year ended 31 March.

Sun TV Ltd has also expressed its intention to convert all its channels pay. "All our Tamil and Malayalam channels are available as FTAs to cable operators throughout India, except KTV, Sun News and Sun Music, which are available as pay channels. We intend to make all our channels pay channels in the near future," the prospectus states.

Sun TV Ltd is part of the Sun Network, which runs 14 TV channels, four FM Radio stations, two daily newspapers and four magazines. Sun TV Ltd comprises four Tamil channels -- Sun TV, Sun Music, KTV and Sun News -- and two Malayalam channels -- Surya TV and Kiran TV.

Sun TV has also said that it will utilise the mobile telephone and broadband technologies for content distribution. "As part of our growth strategy, we may broaden our media presence through other platforms including broadband, mobile and DTH," states the document.

The company is presently in the process of launching its DTH services.

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