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Lower deferred tax asset & demonetisation lower Dish TV numbers

BENGALURU: The largest DTH operator in India in terms of subscriber numbers – Dish TV Limited (Dish TV) reported less than one-sixth profit after tax (PAT) for the year ended 31 March 2017 (FY-17, current year) as compared to the previous year. The company reported PAT of Rs 1,092.8 million for FY-17 as compared to PAT of Rs 6,924.2 million in fiscal 2016. Dish TV has shown deferred tax asset for FY-17 at Rs 740.3 million as compared to Rs 4,360 million in FY-17. The company’s assets and liabilities statement for FY-17 shows deferred tax asset of Rs 5,100.3 million – the sum of the deferred tax asset for both years.

In its earnings release, Dish TV says that demonetisation outdid a good monsoon as well as thriving economic conditions of the last year. Consumer spending remained a challenge from the latter half to the fourth quarter. The initial growth momentum that could have catapulted the DTH industry to the next level in terms of subscriber additions, took a temporary but prolonged hit. The DTH industry slightly de-grew in terms of new acquisitions during the fiscal despite coming closer to the implementation of digitisation. Dish TV saw subscribers conserving cash for bigger necessities right from the time demonetisation was announced in November up to the end of the fiscal.

Dish TV managing director Jawahar Goel said, “Fiscal 2017 threw up unprecedented challenges but the Dish TV team took things in its stride. We minimized the impact of demonetisation while focusing on a long-term advantage in the form of recharges through online modes. Despite the odds, Dish TV managed to increase its reach and subscriber base.”

The company reported 1,029 thousand net subscriber additions during the year to take its subscriber base to 15.5 million.

Dish TV reported operating revenues of Rs. 30,144 million in FY-17, up 4.2 percent as compared to Rs 28,941 million in the previous year. Subscription revenues of Rs. 27,696 million in the current year were 4.1 per higher than the Rs 26,617 million in the previous year.

Dish TV EBITDA declined 5.1 percent in the current year to Rs. 9,728 million (margin at 32.3 percent) from Rs 10,249 million (38.5 percent margin) in FY-16.

Dish TV’s total expenditure in FY-17 increased 9.2 percent to Rs 20,415 million from Rs  18,692 million in the previous year. Cost of goods and services in fiscal 2017 increased 9.5 percent to Rs 14,371 million from Rs `13,122 million in FY-16. Employee Benefit Expense in FY-17 increased 9.5 percent to Rs 1,465 million from Rs 1,229 million. Sales & Distribution Expenses increased 9.6 percent in FY-17 to Rs 3,108 million from Rs 2,836 million in the previous year. Other expenses declined 2.3 percent to Rs 1,470 million from Rs 1,505 million. Finance costs increased 7.3 percent in FY-17 to Rs 2,239 million from Rs 2,087 million.

Company speak:

Goel, said, “Revenue growth in the current fiscal is largely going to be a function of subscriber additions and Phase 4 of digitisation should have a material role to play in that. The proposed amalgamation (with Videocon d2h) will further help create scale in the highly-fragmented TV distribution landscape in India while creating significant synergies through the combination.”

On technological developments, Goel, revealed, “We understand that digital will be an important part of our growth in the future and we are excited about our portfolio of products lined up for launch in the coming quarters. Dish TV’s new HTML 5 based middleware with a card less box and a new chip set is already in advanced stages of testing and would hit the market soon.”

DTH services will be subject to 18 percent GST rate as soon as the new indirect tax regime is implemented in the country. On the new GST regime, Goel said, “What should be significant in addition to our ability to pass on the uniform tax to subscribers would be the ease of doing day-to-day business and the associated savings in administration, litigation as well as compliance costs that should result from a simpler tax regime. Unlike the current Entertainment Tax and VAT regime, where different rules are used to determine tax in different regions, GST would be a single tax that should be practical and convenient to pass-on to the consumer.”

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