Buoyed by Hungama sale, UTV posts profit

MUMBAI: Ronnie Screwvala promoted UTV Software Communications Limited has posted consolidated revenues of Rs 704 million for the quarter ended 31 December, 2006. This also includes capital gains of Rs 263 million from the sale of United Home Entertainment Ltd (Hungama TV) and EBITDA – Rs 303 million.

The company has posted a net profit is Rs 283 million.

UTV’s operating revenues were up to Rs 436 million for the quarter ended 31 December, 2006 from Rs 375 million in the corresponding period.

Additionally, UTV has also inducted in its board Walt Disney International president Andy Bird and The Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani as non-executive directors. At the same time Ketan Dalal and Rahul Shah have exited from the board.

UTV Software Communications has consolidated the financials of UESL, UTV-US, UTV-UK and UTV-MauritiusÂ

Screwvala said, “The quarter has been a very eventful one; while the Hungama TV deal with The Walt Disney Company was consummated during the quarter, the company also decided to make investments in two gaming companies – Ignition Entertainment and Indiagames Ltd in console and mobile space respectively. With these proposed investments UTV has acquired worldwide capabilities of content creation and distribution across all gaming platforms.”

The company released two movies during the quarter – Don and Bhagam Bhag. While Don was released in the international markets, Bhagam Bhag released in certain territories in North India by UTV.

According to an official statement from the company, its television business continues to show growth over the previous year, with revenues in this segment during the nine months, showing a growth of almost 40 per cent over the same period in the previous year.

UTV has also entered into exclusive sales and marketing tie up with South India based production house Radaan Media. “This will result in significant growth in television businesses in the months to come. In addition to this and as a step towards entering the South Indian film production space, UTV has tied up with Radaan for co-production of South Indian films,” Screwvala added.

Strategic sale of Hungama TV: UTV relinquished its stake in Hungama TV by selling 100 per cent equity and convertible preference share capital in UHEL to the Walt Disney Company South East Asia Pte Ltd. for an aggregate consideration for around $30.5 million. Regulatory approvals for the same were received during the quarter resulting in the consummation of the transaction. Â

Broadcasting JV with Astro: UTV proposes to enter into a 50:50 JV with Astro of Malaysia for its new venture in broadcasting. The venture, to be targeted at the youth, age group 17-25, is planned as a 360 degree entertainment venture including TV channel as the anchor, to be flanked by activities on the internet, new media, ground events, merchandising and licensing. The investment in this venture will not exceeding Rs 1 billion.

Acquisition of gaming companies: The company has also proposed to acquire a 70 per cent stake in Ignition Entertainment Ltd. (Ignition), a UK based company with interests in console game development, publishing and distribution across the globe, as well as a controlling stake in IndiaGames Ltd. (IG), with interests in mobile gaming and on line gaming.

The company has proposed to acquire a controlling stake in Indiagames for Rs 680 million and that in Ignition for Rs 600 million.

UTV will be releasing Mira Nair’s Namesake in March this year. Whereas a number of film releases are lined up towards the second half of this calendar year. Some of them include The Blue Umbrella, Metro, Hat-Trick, Jodha Akbar, Goal, Dilli-6, Fashion and Hook Ya Crook.

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