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ZEEL’s sports biz remains profitable in H1 FY16; full fiscal loss to remain under Rs 1 bn

MUMBAI: The sports business of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) has remained profitable in the first half of the financial year 2015–16.

In the April–September period, the sports business registered a small operating profit of Rs 3.7 crore (Rs 37 million). While in the first quarter, the sports business had generated an operating profit of Rs 1.5 crore (Rs 15 million), the profit stood at Rs 2.2 crore (Rs 22 million) in the second quarter.

ZEEL’s sports broadcast business includes subsidiary Taj Television, which owns and operates Ten Sports, Ten Cricket, Ten Action, Ten Golf and Ten HD.

Ten-sports-networkDuring the first half of the fiscal, the sporting properties on the channels included Pakistan vs Zimbabwe cricket series, West Indies vs England cricket series, Sri Lanka vs Pakistan cricket series, UEFA Champions League Finals, WWE Specials, MotoGP, India vs Zimbabwe cricket series, Tour de France, and US Open Tennis, among other properties.

In the first half, revenue from the sports segment stood at Rs 279.7 crore (Rs 2.8 billion), while cost incurred was at Rs 276 crore (Rs 2.76 billion).

Meanwhile, ZEEL expects losses from its sports business to be well under originally guided Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) in FY16.

In FY15, in the absence of live India-specific cricket series, the operating loss from the sports business stood at just Rs 26.6 crore (Rs 266 million). The first and the fourth quarters of the previous fiscal were EBITDA-positive.

The upcoming quarter would see the telecast of events like Pakistan vs England cricket series, Sri Lanka vs West Indies cricket series, UEFA Champions League, ATP and WTA finals.

The company’s management has told investors that the sports business could show losses if the India–Pakistan cricket series takes place at the end of the third quarter. However, there is so far no clarity on if the series will take place at all.