FDI in print media welcome, but industry well capitalised: Jagran CFO

New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) Leading media house Jagran Prakashan welcomes any move by the government to raise the foreign equity limit in print media to 49 per cent, but said in the given scenario, the industry does not need any additional capital from overseas, its CFO R.K. Agarwal has said.

He also told BTVi in an interview that the group proposes to go through buyback of shares for Jagran Prakashan and an initial public offer for its radio business by March this year.

“As far as the Industry goes, I do not think that it’s (foreign equity in print media) going to change the landscape of the industry much. Till the media industry is adequately funded, it is not going to be commercially viable,” Agarwal said.

“I do not see any player player who is not going for expansion plans for the want of capital. Yes it is going to improve valuations of the print media companies — and that is for sure,” the CFO added.

As regards buy-back of equity, he said: “It is already in proces. Tt should be completed by March 15 in case we get all statutory approvals. This is for the year, next year we will see. Jagran Prakashan continues to believe in it’s policy of distributing surplus to shareholders.”

The group has also filed a draft red herring prospectus with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for an initial public offer for its radio arm. “We are targeting to hit the market before March 31 that is for sure,” he said, adding it depended on statutory approvals.

Agarwal also spoke of the impact of demonetisation on Jagran Prakashan.

“As far as margins are concerned Jagran is quiet competent to adjust itself to ground realities. If revenues were down, Jagran can adjust it’s cost structure to give more or less same margins. So, on margin front I am not worried,” he said.

“Yes, for top line growth, demonetisation has really badly impacted the third quarter, but still we would report some growth, maybe around 3-4 per cent. The last quarter is looking better at the back of elections,” he added.

“But the total impact of demonetisation — it is anybody’s guess. Once some more time passes, one can really estimate what has happened.”

–IANS

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