Cable TV

Hathway Cable becomes India's first $1bn enterprise valuation MSO

MUMBAI: New year celebrations don’t seem to have ended at the Raheja group company and multi system operator Hathway Cable & Datacom. The MSO has become the first company from the cable TV industry to have crossed the $1 billion mark in terms of enterprise valuation.

At the time of filing the report, as on 6 January 2015, (1 USD= 63.4286 INR mid- market rate), the total valuation of the company including market cap (Rs 5581 crore) and debt (Rs 806 crore) and excluding cash and cash equivalents  was close to $ 1 billion (Rs 6387 crore).  

Hathway Cable & Datacom MD and CEO Jagdish Kumar Pillai is over the moon with this feat.  Says he, “This achievement has got more to do with the potential of the Indian cable TV market, and not just with what Hathway does.”

 For Pillai, digitisation has opened up the potential of unlocking the value that Indian cable TV industry holds. “With broadband and cable TV getting more transparent, the market is viewing this as a great industry to invest in the next five years, and that’s reflected in the balance sheet. It is a promise of a good potential,” he opines.

With the industry getting more organised, Pillai expects more foreign investors to pump in funds into cable TV. “And that is what Hathway is doing. We are corporatising the whole industry and bringing the professionals to run our business. We have invested heavily in computer software and automation. It has become more like a telecom company. We expect a lot of investment interest in the industry now,” he adds.

Pillai feels that it is Hathway's broadband service which differentiates the company from the other players. “Our broadband service is strong and that has, along with our strong CATV, helped us reach at this level,” he says.  

The plan for Hathway from here is clear: monetisation of the investments made in the phase I and II markets. “We have deployed 7 million set top boxes in the first two phases of DAS and we would like to monetise that. Also as we get closer to phase III and IV deadlines, we will look at opportunities which will enable us to expand further,” he informs.

As for broadband, Hathway which has already upgraded its platform to DOCSIS 3.0, is looking at expanding to all the cities in which it has a presence.  “The investment will be two-fold, both in broadband and in cable TV,” concludes Pillai.

Coming on the back of the announcement that the Videocon group has signed an agreement with US-based Silver Eagle Acquisition Corp to sell 33.5 per cent of its shares in its DTH venture Videocon d2h for $300 million, the Hathway landmark shows that confidence amongst investors for TV distribution initiatives seems to be reviving. And that's good news for the entire TV ecosystem which has been struggling to digitise its TV viewer base.

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