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HT Media Q3 net improves amid revenue de-growth

MUMBAI: HT Media’s net profit for the quarter ended 31 December has jumped 36% to Rs 124 crore even as operating revenue de-grew by 4% at Rs 625 crore compared to the year-ago period. PAT margin saw an improvement at 18% compared to 12% in the previous fiscal.

Commenting on the results and performance, HT Media chairperson and Editorial Director Shobhana Bhartia said, “The pressure on revenue has continued in our print business. While our English business has declined marginally, our Hindi business has reported growth. The cost rationalisation initiative we undertook last year continues to deliver good results with benefits visible across all cost items. Our radio business continues to grow, albeit in the single digits, but amidst an industry-wide slowdown. Both our new and existing radio stations posted revenue growth even as profit margins in the business continue to improve. There are some signs of an upcoming recovery as evidenced by advertising revenue picking up in the second half of the quarter. With the teething issues around GST resolved, we expect growth in the coming financial year.”

The company attributed the improvement in net profit to ad rebound in FMCG and Luxury even as overall market volumes have shown a decline. Big categories such as Government, Retail, Automobiles, Banking & Finance and Education saw muted ad spend.

It further stated that there was a strong margin performance in both new and existing radio stations. Newsprint prices remained flat on the back of favourable exchange rates. Raw material cost saw a reduction on account of optimised pagination.

It also noted that the cost restructuring initiatives have yielded results with benefits apparent in all line items. HT Media also realised a one-time benefit from profit on the sale of property of Rs 31 crore.

The print media major’s net cash balance zoomed 23% to Rs 1,222 crore, as on 31 December, compared to Rs 997 crore.

The company’s EBIT from print segment rose 77% to Rs 115 crore while revenue declined 6% to Rs 529 crore. Ad revenue was down 3% to Rs 452 crore while circulation revenue fell 14% to Rs 68 crore.

The Hindi print business saw a 42% jump in EBITDA to Rs 42 crore even as revenue remained flat at Rs 230 crore. Ad revenue jumped 5% to Rs 177 crore even as circulation revenue fell 14% to Rs 48 crore.

 

The EBITDA from radio business expanded 45% to Rs 19 crore. Revenue saw a nominal 5% increase to Rs 47 crore.

Digital ad revenue fell to Rs 28 crore from Rs 37 crore on account of softer growth at Shine.