Zee Media’s 73% profit drop triggers selloff; share tanks 10% in early trade

Zee Media Corporation Ltd, owned by Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group, posted dismal performance in the last fiscal.Credit: Twitter

Shares of Zee Media Corporation Ltd tanked nearly 8 per cent in early trade on Wednesday, May 15, in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) following a dismal performance in the last quarter of the last financial year.

On NSE, Zee Media slumped to Rs 13.05 by noon on Wednesday after opening at Rs 13.95. The scrip had a gap down opening on the daily chart after closing overnight at Rs 14.60, up from the day's opening of Rs 14.10. The share was trading well below the 50-day moving average of 16.65 on the daily chart.

The company backed by Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group posted a net loss of Rs 86.66 crore in FY19 Q4 as against Rs 11.52 crore during the same period in FY18, according to media reports.

The media house that owns the Zee News and Zee Business television channels and the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) newspaper reported a 73.1 per cent decline in profit after tax (PAT) for FY19 at Rs 13.17 crore, compared to Rs 49 crore in the last fiscal, an agency report said.

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Subhash Chandra has been searching for potential investors to offload stake in several Essel Group companies.STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

"Consolidated operating revenue in FY19 grew by 19.8 per cent to Rs 686.92 crore from Rs 573.48 crore in the financial year 2017-18," Zee Media said in an exchange filing. The revenue of Zee Media also tumbled 3.9 per cent in the January-March quarter at Rs 169.35 crore, compared to Rs 176.22 crore in Q4 of FY18.

The shares of Zee Entertainment Limited (ZEEL), another Essel group company that owns a clutch of entertainment channels including in regional languages, also slumped in early trade on Wednesday on the bourses. ZEEL was trading at Rs 319 by noon on Wednesday after opening at 346.

Debt-riddled Essel group has been in talks with potential investors for offloading its stake in various companies including ZEEL and Zee Media, according to media reports. Subhash Chandra told Economic Times in an interview last month that he was confident of being able to meet the September 30 deadline on repaying lenders. He said ZEEL has five suitors — from India to Japan, Europe and the US. "You might get surprised with the names," he said in the first interview after his letter to stakeholders acknowledging wrong steps after the January stock collapse. He also said that Essel will repay every rupee of the group's Rs 17,174-cr debt. A report in Mint said recently that roads platform Cube Highways and Infrastructure Pte Ltd and Canada's Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) are in talks to buy three toll roads from debt-laden Essel Group.

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