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HT Media Q2 net down 8.7% to Rs 48 cr

MUMBAI: Print major HT Media’s fiscal second quarter consolidated net profit (before minority interest) has dipped 8.7 per cent due to depreciation charge related to its Chennai radio station asset base and higher tax.

The company, which owns brands including Hindustan Times, Mint and Hindustan, posted a net profit of Rs 48 crore (Rs 480 million) in the quarter ended 30 September 2015, compared to Rs 52.6 crore (Rs 526 million) a year ago.

Total revenue in the quarter increased 8.8 per cent to Rs 647.2 crore (Rs 6.47 billion), from Rs 594.8 crore (Rs 5.95 billion) in the year-ago period.

HT Media Q2 FY16
Advertising revenue grew 6.7 per cent to Rs 474.2 crore (Rs 4.74 billion), from Rs 444.4 crore (Rs 4.44 billion) in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal, primarily due to increase in advertising volumes.

Circulation revenue grew 5.2 per cent to Rs 75.4 crore (Rs 754 million) from Rs 71.7 core (Rs 717 million) a year ago, largely due to higher circulation.

HT Media’s EBITDA saw a marginal 2.2 per cent increase to Rs 108.3 crore (Rs 1.08 billion), compared to Rs 106 crore (Rs 1.06 billion).

EBITDA was positively impacted by an increase in the topline and decline in raw material costs by 5.5 per cent. However, a 23.8 per cent increase in employee cost and 17.7 per cent increase in selling, general and admin expenses partially offset the EBITDA.

The company said that the increase in employee cost to Rs 143.6 crore (Rs 1.44 billion) was resulted from new hiring and increments.

Radio business

HT Media’s radio business, housed under Fever FM, saw a 20.5 per cent increase in revenue to Rs 29.3 crore (Rs 293 million), compared to Rs 24.4 crore (Rs 244 million) in the year-ago period.

Radio EBITDA was up by 31.3 per cent to Rs 12.4 crore (Rs 124 million), from Rs 9.5 crore (Rs 95 million).

HT Media said that excluding one-time impact of Chennai radio station consolidation with effect from 1 April 2014, normalised YoY revenue growth was approximately 10 per cent and EBITDA margins grew by 40 per cent. Loss on consolidation of Chennai radio station at EBITDA and PAT level was at Rs 84 lakh (Rs 8.4 million) and Rs 4.47 crore (Rs. 44.7 million) respectively.

Digital business

The company’s digital business witnessed a 36 per cent increase in revenues to Rs 33.9 crore (Rs 339 million), compared to Rs 24.9 crore (Rs 249 million) a year ago.

Shine.com registered a revenue growth of 41.3 per cent in Q2, while HT Mobile registered a growth of 61.4 per cent.

HT Media chairperson and editorial director Shobhana Bhartia commented, “Our performance this quarter has been satisfactory despite subdued economic activity and tepid markets. Our English publications saw a growth in revenue even after factoring in a base effect, and this was driven by growth in both HT Mumbai and Mint. Hindustan continues to demonstrate remarkable resilience and saw high growth rates.

“We successfully acquired the stations of our choice in the Phase III FM auctions. The digital business grew in terms of revenue and saw a fall in losses. We are excited by the opportunities on offer, the prospects of our various businesses, and are confident of executing our plans in the coming months.”