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HT Media March quarter net profit falls 13%

LiveMint logoLiveMint 09-05-2014 Vidhi Choudhary

New Delhi: HT Media Ltd, publisher of the Hindustan Times and Mint newspapers, on Friday reported a 13% decline in net profit for the quarter ended 31 March as higher taxes and other expenses countered an increase in advertising and circulation revenue.

Net profit fell to `34.8 crore in the three months from `40.1 crore a year ago on a 12% increase in total revenue to `585.9 crore from `525.2 crore, said the company, which also operates an FM radio business under the brand Fever 104, in a statement.

For the fiscal, net profit rose 24% to `207.5 crore from `167.7 crore. Total revenue increased by 10% to `2,363 crore from `2,142.2 crore.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda)—an indicator of operating profitability—in the quarter rose 22% to `117.5 crore from `96.4 crore.

The company’s digital revenue from businesses such as Shine.com, a recruitment portal, grew by 42% to `76.2 crore. Fever 104, which operates four stations in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, saw its revenue increase 19% to `93.1 crore.

HT Media ascribed the quarterly net profit drop to a reversal of deferred tax assets for previous periods, an 8% increase in the cost of raw material resulting from higher newsprint prices as well as increased advertising and sales promotion and employee expenses.

That offset a 10% increase in advertising revenue of the print segment to `417.2 crore and a 15% rise in circulation revenue to `65.5 crore compared to a year ago.

The company’s board recommended a 20% dividend, or 40 paise per equity share of `2 each. Dividend for the year amounted to `9.31 crore.

HT Media said its business outlook continues to be strong, citing increasing turns on its Mumbai, Hindi and radio businesses as well as the digital segment and a strong balance sheet with net cash of `901 crore that’s capable of supporting investments in expansion.

“We are confident that our diversified and resilient business model, established brands and sustained focus on cost reduction will continue to drive growth and create value,” HT Media chairperson and editorial director Shobhana Bhartia said.

HT Media shares fell 0.65% to `91.30 on the BSE on a day the benchmark Sensex gained 2.91% to a record closing high of 22,994.23 points.

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