Promoter stake sale in ZEEL expected to conclude by July: Punit Goenka

MUMBAI: Media conglomerate ZEEL is hoping to conclude its stake sale process by July, the company’s MD and CEO Punit Goenka told analysts during an earnings conference call.

“We are progressing well and with political uncertainty behind us, we hope to sign a binary agreement by July,” Goenka said over a conference call with analysts on Monday.

Earlier this month, the group had stated that the stake sale process of ZEEL is in steady progress and at an advanced stage. ZEEL promoters led by Subhash Chandra plan to sell up to 50% of their equity stake in the company to a strategic partner.

On 26th January, Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra had promised that he will clear the debt of lenders by selling promoter stake in his crown jewel ZEEL.

He had also admitted having made wrong decisions like making incorrect bids in the infrastructure business and the merger of direct to home (DTH) operator Videocon d2h with Dish TV. He had also alleged that some negative forces are out to sabotage his efforts to raise money through a strategic sale in the flagship company ZEEL.

In January, the Essel Group had sealed a formal agreement with its lenders, under which it gets time till September to deleverage or pare its debt. On 25th January, Essel group companies saw a combined erosion of Rs 13,352 crore in market valuation following reports that a promoter entity is being probed for cash deposits after demonetisation.

The company had recently announced its Q4 FY2019 result where it has seen a 26.3% jump in its net profit for the quarter ended 31st March despite the impact of TRAI tariff order on the TV broadcast sector. ZEEL’s net profit jumped to Rs 291.7 crore compared to Rs 231 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal. EBITDA or operating profit rose 12.3% to Rs 568.3 crore from Rs 506.2 crore.

Total revenue for the quarter was Rs. 2019.3 crore registering a growth of 17% YoY compared to Rs 1725.3 crore. The growth was driven by the strong performance of domestic broadcast, digital and movie businesses.

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