Cost rationalization helps HT Media double net in Q2

Cost rationalization helps HT Media double net in Q2

New Delhi: HT Media Ltd, which owns the ‘Hindustan Times’ and ‘Mint’ newspapers, said profit almost doubled in the quarter ended September to Rs31.4 crore from Rs16.3 crore in the year-earlier period, driven by the company’s cost rationalization measures and higher circulation revenue.

“The improving macro environment, leading to improved advertising markets, should see us continue to deliver robust performance," Shobhana Bhartia, HT Media’s chairperson and editorial director, said in a release.

Total revenue rose 4% to Rs348.1 crore from Rs334.2 crore in the three months ended September on a surge of 28% in circulation revenues to Rs47.9 crore from Rs37.3 crore on the back of increased realizations and higher cover prices, the company said. The higher revenue offset the marginal decline in advertisement revenues of the publishing segment, HT Media said.

The Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) margin expanded to 20% from 13% and the profit after tax margin widened to 9% from 5%. Ebitda is a measure of operating profit and indicates ability to service debt.

The increase includes higher depreciation and exceptional items such as provisions for the diminution in the value of long-term investments.

Operating margins expanded to 20% from 13% following cost optimization measures that were put in place in the third quarter of the previous fiscal year, the company said.

Revenue from ‘Hindustan’, the company’s Hindi-language newspaper, grew 23% to Rs102.6 crore. HT Media commissioned printing facilities at Bareilly this month to strengthen the reach of ‘Hindustan’ across western Uttar Pradesh, covering the districts of Bareilly, Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur, Lakhimpur and Badaun.

The company plans to widen the newspaper’s reach in the state by starting new printing units at one more key location in the near future and “strengthen its existing infrastructure at Patna and Agra", HT Media said in a release. “This will enable HT Media to achieve operational efficiencies, strengthen its reach and build a strong leadership position across the Indo-Gangetic belt, i.e., the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, UP, Uttarakhand and Delhi."

HT Media’s radio business maintained its ranking as one of the top three stations in Delhi and Bangalore, boosting advertising revenue as it reached more people and improved “inventory utilization," the firm said.