Bimantara's profit grows sharply on surge in broadcasting business

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

PT Bimantara Citra booked a net profit of Rp 302.7 billion (about US$33 million), an increase of about 1,200 percent from the Rp 22.7 billion recorded in the same period last year, the company's consolidated accounts for the third quarter show.

The company's total revenue and operating profits rose to Rp 2.59 trillion and Rp 444 billion respectively, representing an increase of 47 percent and 693 percent from the Rp 1.76 trillion and Rp 56 billion notched up in the same quarter of last year.

The company said Wednesday that the sharp increase in net profit was the result of a surge in revenues from its media and broadcasting division, which booked Rp 1.72 trillion in advertising income during the third quarter, about 66 percent of total revenue.

Another significant increase in revenue was achieved by the company's information technology and telecommunications division. CDMA-based mobile phone operator, Mobile-8 Telecom, a part of Bimantara's IT division, had more than 1.5 million customers signed up, with an average growth of 5,000 to 6,000 new customers per day, and contributed about Rp 664 billion, or 26 percent, to the company's total revenues.

Bimantara also reported that its investment portfolio contributed Rp 189 billion, or seven percent, to total revenues.

Bimantara, the majority shareholder in television networks Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia and Global TV, also reported an improvement in its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) in the third quarter. These stood at Rp 711 billion, almost twice the figure for the same period in 2005.

Management said cash flow was sufficient to cover the cost of paying interest on the company's bonds, including the Rajawali Citra Televisi Indonesia rupiah bond and the MNC Euro bond, and to repay the loan taken out from Lehman Brothers to fund its Mobile-8 projects.

Management also expressed the hope that with the current growth in the number of Mobile-8 subscribers, the telecommunications division would be able to contribute more to company earnings in the coming years.

Among its future plans, the company aims to expand into the pay-TV market as the country's vast population still offers major opportunities in this area.

According to the company report, only 3 percent of the country's households have signed up for pay-TV services, compared to such countries as Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and the United States, which have between 35 and 90 percent pay-TV penetration.

The management also promised that the initial public offering by Mobile-8 Telecom would go ahead as scheduled in November.
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