Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd. (KSIDC) has decided to sell its 5.9 per cent stake in India Middle East Broadcasting Network Pvt Ltd (IMBN) that ran the now defunct news channel TV New.
The corporation has invited bids to dispose of its 36.30 lakh shares with a face value of Rs10, it holds in IMBN, which was established predominantly to run a TV channel – TV New, with a view to capitalizing on the broadcast of economic and political issues in the state.
Experts in the broadcasting business aver that the channel business to break even is practically impossible in the first few years given the increasing number of channels in the state. “Many have already burnt their fingers after chasing this ‘fancy’ business as scores of channels already fight for survival in this market,” they elaborated.
According to KSIDC document, the channel started operations in July 2014 and started airing news programmes on 24/7 basis. “Later, the company faced financial difficulties and the channel stopped broadcasting by July-August 2015. The channel had the licence for broadcasting only till 2016,” it added.
Apart from KSIDC, NRI investors owned 41 per cent in the company as on November 30, 2015 with the remaining stake being held by directors and their companies at 14.3 per cent, Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) members (32.4 per cent) and KCCI owning 6.3 per cent.
The KSIDC document further explains that the holding company has already spent Rs56.39 crore, which constituted share capital (Rs25.14 crore) and other liabilities including a term loan of Rs10.5 crore. Businessbenchmark.news couldn’t clarify from KSIDC how 36.30 lakh shares with face value of Rs10 accounted for 5.9 per cent of the share capital of the company at Rs25.14 crore.
A big chunk of the funds thus raised was spent on Plant & Machinery at Rs25.93 crore and Preliminary and pre-operational expenses at Rs21.14 crore, which must have eroded or rendered unrecoverable to a good extent.
The KSIDC website testifies that the corporation has so far promoted more than 750 projects in the state that include entities such as Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), KELTRON, Hindustan Latex Ltd, Kerala Minerals & Metals Ltd, Tata Tea Ltd, Harrisons Malayalam Ltd, BrahMos Aerospace Trivandrum, Nitta Gelatin India Ltd, Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services Ltd., Regional Cancer Centre, Malabar Cements Ltd, Kerala State Drugs & Pharmaceuticals Ltd (KSDPL), BSES Kerala Power Ltd, Kerala Ayurveda Pharmacy Ltd, Lakeshore Hospital & Research Centre Ltd, Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Ltd, Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd and Kerala Gail Gas Ltd.