HT Media Ltd, publisher of the Hindustan Times and Mint newspapers, on Friday reported a 36% increase in December quarter net profit, helped by a decline in raw material costs and other expenses.

Net profit rose to Rs124.3 crore in the fiscal third quarter from Rs91.3 crore in the year-earlier period. Revenue declined marginally by 2.19% to Rs689.3 crore from Rs704.7 crore, said the company, which also operates two FM radio stations, Fever 104 and Radio Nasha.

Advertising revenue in the print segment dropped 3% to Rs452 crore. Circulation revenue fell 14% to Rs68 crore.

The fall in advertising revenue was offset by a 5.9% decline in raw material and inventory costs to Rs168.3 crore from Rs178.9 crore. Employee costs declined 10.2% to Rs129.9 crore. Other expenses fell 14.1% to Rs185.1 crore.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda), a key indicator of operating profitability, rose 20.4% from a year earlier to Rs199.1 crore from Rs165.3 crore a year ago.

Revenue at Fever 104, which operates four stations in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, increased 5% to Rs47 crore.

Digital revenue at HT Media, which operates the jobs website Shine.com, declined by 24% to Rs28 crore in the three months ended December.

“The pressure on revenue has continued in our print business. While our English business has declined marginally, our Hindi business has reported growth. The cost rationalisation initiative we undertook last year continues to deliver good results with benefits visible across all cost items," said HT Media chairperson and editorial director Shobhana Bhartia.

“Our radio business continues to grow, albeit in the single digits, but amidst an industry wide slowdown. Both our new and existing radio stations posted revenue growth even as profit margins in the business continue to improve.There are some signs of an upcoming recovery as evidenced by advertising revenue picking up in the second half of the quarter. With the teething issues around GST (goods and services tax) resolved, we expect growth in the coming financial year," she added.

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