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April 2019


BUSINESS NEWS


JAWAHAR GOEL: EDITOR-INCHIEF AT ZEE MEDIA

Zee Media Corporation Ltd (ZMCL), the news broadcaster, has appointed Jawahar Goel as the Editorin- Chief of the news network comprising 16 national and regional news channels. All Editors of Zee Media channels will report in to Goel. Answering a query whether there would be any changes in the editorial team, Goel said, "There won't be any changes as we have best people in the team."

Goel is also Chairman & Managing Director of Dish TV.


ESSEL TO SELL MF & CRUISE STAKES

The Essel Group has put its mutual fund business on the block to generate funds to pay off debt which currently stands at ₹ 17,174 crore. Essel Mutual Fund, which has Assets Under Management (AUM) worth about ₹ 1,428 crore, is valued at around ₹ 100 crore.

In 2016, Essel Finance Wealth Zone Private Ltd (EFWZ), a wholly owned subsidiary of Essel Finance Management LLP, had acquired the entire shareholding of Essel Finance AMC, formerly Peerless Funds Management Company, and Essel MF Trustee Limited formerly Peerless Trust Management Company.



Essel's promoters have already pledged 59% of their stake in Zee Entertainment to raise funds.

In a separate development, Essel Group's Jalesh Cruises Mauritius Ltd will receive $ 10 million from Delta Corp, giving Delta Corp a 25% stake. J a l e s h , promoted by Amit Goenka, plans to acquire cruise ships & operate cruise services to v a r i o u s destinations in India and the Middle East. As part of the arrangement, Delta Corp has acquired the right to be a preferred partner to manage and operate casinos and gaming centres in the cruise liners that will be operated by Jalesh.


HOTSTAR GETS ₹ 1066 CR

Star India and Star US Holdings have infused an additional ₹ 1066 crore ($153 million) into Novi Digital Entertainment, which runs Hotstar. Star India contributed ₹ 832 crore & Star US holdings ₹ 234 crore.

The funds are for Hotstar to scale up its content and technology.

To boost its content, Hotstar has launched 'Hotstar Specials' offering original digital content. Hotstar is also aggressively acquiring third party content.

Seven months ago, Novi Digital received ₹ 516 crore from Star US.

In 2017, Star India had injected ₹ 1233 crore ($192.04 million) into Hotstar.

Novi Digital had posted a loss of almost ₹ 400 crore for the FY ended March 2018.





AIRTEL TO LOWER STAKE IN INFRATEL

Bharti Infratel Ltd owns the towers and fibre infrastructure used by its majority shareholder Bharti Airtel Ltd.

Airtel will reduce its stake in the Infra company from 50.3% to 18.3%. Airtel's unit

Nettle Infrastructure Investments Ltd is buying up to 32% in Bharti Infratel. Nettle will buy Infratel shares for up to 362.45 rupees each, a premium of up to 13.4% on the stock's closing price. Nettle already owns a 3.18% in Infratel.


AIRTEL TO RAISE 32,000 CR

Bharti Airtel is in the process of fund raising, ₹ 32,000 crore.

Company promoters will subscribe ₹ 11,785 crore & Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte Ltd will add ₹ 5,000 crore, investing ₹ 16,785 crore (52%) between them.

Singtel has renounced 50% of its rights shares to GIC. Hence Singtel's stake in Airtel will fall to 35.2%. Singtel is majority owned by Temasek Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd, another Singapore sovereign wealth fund

Airtel's profit has fallen every quarter since Jio's entry. It plunged 72% from ₹ 306 crore in October- December 2017 to ₹ 86 crore in Q3 2019. Consolidated net debt is ₹ 1.06 trillion, end December 2018.

"The fresh capital infusion will help us to continue our investments in future rollouts to build large network capacity and create content and technology partnerships to ensure the best customer experience," Bharti Airtel chief executive officer Gopal Vittal said in a statement.



JIO TO SELL FIBRE ASSETS

Reliance Jio is making an effort to monetise its pan-India optic fibre assets so that it can improve its balance sheet. The plan is to demerge the fibre assets into a separate company which could then be monetised via a sale and leaseback or infrastructure investment trust (InvIT) structure. JIO will retain 15% as a sponsor of the InvIT.

Moelis, Citi & ICICI Securities have been appointed to reach out to potential global investors.

"The end objective will be to h a v e d i f f e r e n t set of investors who would want to run t h e s e companies. This means that these assets go off our balance sheets, so the liabilities also go down," RIL's joint CFO Srikanth Venkatachari explained.

Jio operates 220,000 towers and over 300,000 route kilometres of fibre. JIO is backed by a ₹ 3 lakh crore capital investment & has 280 million subscribers, end Q3.

According to CLSA, Jio's net debt is ₹ 1.12 lakh crore.



ASIANET PLANS ₹ 130 CR CAPEX

Kerala-based MSO Asianet Satellite Communications plans to deploy ₹ 130 crore in capital expenditure (Capex) in FY19.

A capex of ₹ 200 crore was planned over FY18 & FY19, mainly for GPON FTTH.

In FY18 it incurred a capex of ₹ 77.4 crore & plans to undertake the balance expenditure of ₹ 130 crore in FY19.

Asianet posted positive free cash flows of ₹ 33.8 crore in FY18.

The cable business remained flat. Revenue grew only 0.6% YoY in FY18. Primary ARPUs grew 2% YoY to ₹ 208 in FY18, but primary subscribers fell 3% YoY to roughly 598,000 subscribers. Secondary subscribers grew by 13% YoY to 806,000 subscribers, while secondary ARPUs rose by 43% YoY.

Asianet's broadband segment, historically more profitable than the cable business, under-performed in FY18. Broadband revenue fell 12% & the subscriber base remained stagnant.

FY18, ARPUs for primary and secondary subscribers declined to ₹ 606 (FY17: ₹ 713) and ₹ 571 (₹ 650), respectively.

Started in 1993, Asianet Satellite Communications was fully taken over by the Rajan Raheja group in 1999- 2000. n