Television

Chandra to pump in Rs 7.5 billion into WWIL, Dish

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MUMBAI: Subhash Chandra has big investment plans for the two de-merged entities of Zee Telefilms Ltd (ZTL). Wire and Wireless (India) Ltd. and Dish TV, engaged in the cable TV and direct-to-home (DTH) businesses respectively, will together be pumping in Rs 7.5 billion to fund their expansion plans.

WWIL will have an investment requirement of Rs 5 billion over the next three years to give a big push to digitisation of cable TV, broadband and voice services. The cable company also expects to rope in an investor. "WWIL has a business plan which would take in an investment of Rs 5 billion over three years. The strategic thrust will be on rollout of digital cable. We are also looking at triple play offerings. We have a network which can be made available to telecom operators for voice," Essel Group chief executive officer of corporate strategy and finance Rajiv Garg tells indiantelevision.com.

WWIL is looking at a debt-equity ratio of 1:1. "The net worth of the company currently is not that strong to support that sort of debt. We would like a 1:1 debt-equity ratio," Garg says.

Operating revenues from ZTL's cable line of business stood at Rs 1.5 billion for the fiscal ended 31 March 2006 while net profit was at Rs 7 million.

For Dish TV, the DTH outfit, there is a Rs 2.5 billion investmen plan over the next two years. The net expenses for DTH operations thus far is Rs 3.8 billion, says Garg. "We project a gross revenue of Rs 3.2 billion from our DTH business in FY07. We aim to have 2.4 million DTH subscribers in the fiscal while the average revenue per user (ARPU) should go up from Rs 190 to Rs 250 a month because of the launch of value-added services," he adds.

The operating revenues for the DTH business stood at Rs 818 million in FY06. On the back of subsidies and marketing expenses, the DTH operations incurred a loss of Rs 790 million during this period.

The de-merged DTH and cable companies are likely to opt for an initial dilution of up to 26 per cent to investors. They are open to both private equity and strategic investors.

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