Mumbai: Higher advertising and circulation income and increased radio revenue helped HT Media Ltd boost net profit by 13% in the quarter ended 30 September from a year earlier.

People discusses politics with Hindustan newspaper in hand. File photo.

Total revenue rose 11% to 493.1 crore from 445.5 crore in the year-ago period. Advertising revenue grew 13% to 370.5 crore from 329.4 crore while income from circulation increased 21.3% to 50.7 crore from 41.8 crore. The company’s radio business under Fever 104 FM lifted revenue by 12% to 15.7 crore from 14.1 crore.

The higher advertising revenue on the back of an expanding readership base enabled the group to post a healthy operational and financial performance despite a challenging macro environment, said Shobhana Bhartia, chairperson and editorial director, HT Media.

“We are particularly pleased with the robust performance of our Hindi business in the quarter while the other print businesses continue to do well," Bhartia said in a statement. “The slowdown in the economy and the adverse currency exchange rates are resulting in some headwinds."

She added that “there will be significant opportunities for the company as the business environment improves".

Advertising for the group’s Hindi-language newspaper Hindustan grew 24% year-on-year and English print performed consistently, posting an increase of 8.1%, said an analyst at a brokerage who didn’t want to be identified citing company policy.

The analyst said HT Media could have fared better had it not been for an increase in raw material costs.

“Raw material cost has increased by 13.5% year-on-year to reach 184.3 crore," the analyst said. “This is partly due to higher circulation in both Hindi and English newspapers and hardening in newsprint costs. Employee costs have gone up as well. Employee salary and other expenditure increased by 15.3% and 32% year-on-year, respectively."

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, margins were compressed because the increase in costs at 15.1% had outpaced sales growth, the analyst said.

HT Media’s results are in line with expectations, said Ankit Kedia, an analyst with Centrum Broking.

“Operating profits are lower this time because of rising newsprint costs, higher circulation and forex loss," Kedia said.

Shares of HT Media fell 1.95% to close at 138 on Friday on the Bombay Stock Exchange. The benchmark Sensex lost 0.89% to close at 16,785.64 points.