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DB Corp plans new edition in Bihar; Q3 net profit up 11.3%

MUMBAI: Print major DB Corp, which publishes ‘Dainik Bhaskar’, ‘Divya Bhaskar’, ‘Dainik Divya Marathi’ and ‘Saurashtra Samachar’, is planning to launch another edition in Bihar in nine to 12 months.

Addressing analysts after the release of the third-quarter results, DB Corp MD Sudhir Agarwal said that the company will launch a new edition in Bihar. He, however, did not disclose the city name.

Agarwal also said that the company is not looking at launching any more editions in Maharashtra and will first consolidate its position there.

Meanwhile, DB Corp has reported 11.3 per cent increase in its net profit for the quarter ended 31 December 2014.

Net profit for the quarter ended 31 December 2014 stood at Rs 105.16 crore (Rs 1.05 billion), while margins rose to 18.9 per cent. In the year-ago period its net profit stood at Rs 94.83 crore (Rs 948.31 million) with PAT margin of 18.2 per cent.

There was ForEx loss of Rs 1.96 crore (Rs 19.61 million) and incremental depreciation of Rs 6.57 crore (Rs 65.7 million).

DB Corp claimed leadership position in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana (CPH), Gujarat and urban Rajasthan.

During the quarter the company’s total revenue grew 6.1 per cent to Rs 557.4 crore (Rs 5.57 billion), compared to Rs 525.6 crore (Rs 5.26 billion) a year ago.

Advertising revenue, however, saw a 6.2 per cent growth year-on-year to Rs 428.3 crore (Rs 4.28 billion). Ad revenue in the year-ago period stood at Rs 4.3.5 crore (Rs 4,035 million) on the back of state elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, circulation revenue grew by 16.8 per cent year-on-year to Rs 96.9 crore (Rs 969 million) from Rs 83 crore (Rs 830 million).

DB Corp’s EBIDTA and margin for the quarter stood at Rs 187.6 crore (Rs 1.88 billion) and 33.6 per cent respectively, as against EBITDA of Rs 162.5 crore (Rs 1.62 billion) and margin of 30.9 per cent in the year-ago period.

Print business EBITDA margins stood at 34.1 per cent at Rs 178.3 crore (Rs 1.78 billion) and print business mature editions EBITDA margin stood at 38 per cent.

Net profit from print business stood at Rs 100.7 crore (Rs 1,007 million).

Raw material expenses dropped to Rs 167.9 crore (Rs 1.68 billion) from Rs 172.4 crore (Rs 1.72 billion) incurred a year ago.

DB Corp has a pan-India presence with a total readership base of 19.8 million.

With respect to the Q3 results, Agarwal said, “We continue to progress well through Jharkhand, Bihar and Maharashtra, making good headway in the readership profiles of SEC A & B categories, particularly Bihar and Maharashtra, even on the back of a higher cover price. In Jharkhand we are working doubly hard to move towards our break-even target in this fiscal.”

“This quarter we diligently focused on three core areas—product, content and distribution, which demanded all our hard work and efforts. Through an exciting mix of a high-quality product led by innovative content, focus on better local news coverage in each region, various ground activation initiatives to intensify reader engagement and events to welcome greater corporate partnerships have all contributed to improving our reach to readers across our legacy and emerging markets,” Agarwal added.

“Our focus on stronger internal operating efficiencies has ensured our financial health through better expense management while newsprint costs have also seen a correction which has contributed to the strong bottom-line.”

He added that the company’s non-print business continues to make steady strides. “The environment within the digital, mobile and radio world in Tier II and III cities is exciting, and there’s much to explore and study in consumption behaviour and trends in regional language in these areas, which we have already undertaken very actively. Our digital properties have been gaining larger viewership numbers due to real-time region-specific coverage, our mobile app has been developed with best-in-class engineering to serve audiences struggling with slow connectivity issues in Tier II and III cities and we expect good response from it. Several initiatives are in progress to enable us to take advantage of future growth opportunities. The government has been working towards speeding up the needed reform implementations required to boost industrial and economic growth, and we expect to observe some visible impact on better GDP numbers over the next two years. We are confident of our operating strengths and continue to execute to plan while maintaining stability in our profitability outlook.”

DB Corp declared an interim dividend of Rs 3.50 per share.

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