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Siti Cable Q4 net loss at Rs 228 mn

MUMBAI: Multi-system operators (MSOs) are some distance away from gaining fully from digitisation as their billing and packaging issues are yet to be resolved. For Essel Group’s MSO Siti Cable Network, the fiscal fourth quarter results showed revenue jump while net loss rose marginally.

Siti Cable’s EBITDA fell to Rs 27.9 crore (Rs 279 million) in the quarter ended 31 March 2014, down from Rs 32.98 crore (Rs 329.8 million) in the preceding quarter. Net loss dropped to Rs 22.8 crore (Rs 228 million), compared to Rs 22.50 crore (Rs 225 million) in the trailing quarter.

Revenue jumped to Rs 238.2 crore (Rs 2.38 billion), up from Rs 163.99 crore (Rs 1.64 billion) in the trailing quarter (Q3 FY14).

The drag was on the expenditure side. The MSO’s operating expenses grew to Rs 215.4 crore (Rs 2.15 billion), from Rs 155.33 crore (Rs 15.53 billion) in the trailing quarter.

Full-fiscal performance

Siti Cable’s operating profit (EBITDA) for the fiscal ended 31 March grew 45 per cent in comparison with its performance in the previous fiscal. The company’s operating revenue witnessed 48 per cent jump.

Net loss, however, widened to Rs 83.3 crore (Rs 833 million) in the fiscal, compared to a net loss of Rs 60.9 crore (Rs 609 million) in the year-ago period.

Siti Cable’s consolidated operating profit (EBITDA) for the fiscal stood at Rs 125.9 crore (Rs 1.26 billion), up from Rs 87 crore (Rs 870 million) in the previous fiscal. Operating revenue, meanwhile, grew to Rs 697.2 crore (Rs 6.97 billion), from Rs 469.6 crore (Rs 4.7 billion) in the preceding fiscal.

Siti Cable chairman Subhash Chandra stated, “The cable television industry in India is rapidly changing with the visible signs of progression towards complete digitisation. Television viewers are getting familiar with inherent advantages of digitisation through cable and digital cable is playing an instrumental role in digitisation. Digital cable television is a major engine of growth for Siti Cable across all geographies. Our sustained investment in this segment will further enhance customer television viewing experience.”

On the financial performance, Chandra added, “Siti Cable’s ongoing efforts to leverage its strengths in the digital regime are reflecting in the performance of the company.”

Siti Cable CEO VD Wadhwa commented, “Our continuous efforts towards expanding the subscriber base, faster implementation of gross billing in Delhi and Kolkata, high focus on adherence to regulatory compliances and cost control measures have helped us in delivering the healthy performance quarter on quarter. During the year, we have set the benchmark in being a pioneering company to monetise the business by collecting higher subscription on per-subscriber basis, best backend infrastructure, fair and transparent commercial policies in dealing with all our associates.”

He further added, “We are well placed to benefit from the ongoing digitisation implementation and fully geared up to grow revenue and profitability at a faster pace.”

The MSO’s collection of revenue from digital addressable system (DAS) markets grew by 630 per cent, it said. Incidentally, its digital subscriber base expanded to 4 million.

However, Siti Cable’s expenditure during the fiscal also rose from Rs 396.7 crore (Rs 3.97 billion) to Rs 584.4 crore (Rs 5.84 billion).

Through its 56 analogue and 14 digital head-ends and a network of more than 1,2000 km of optical fibre and coaxial cable, Siti Cable provides cable TV services in India’s 80 key cities and adjoining areas, reaching out to over 10 million viewers.