It is aptly said that great necessities call out great virtues toovercome tough times. The world today is grappling with unprecedented challenges. It is attimes like these that we are even more thankful for the values and vision of our LateChairman Shri Ramesh Chandra Ji Agarwal. As an organisation we draw immense strength fromthe qualities of prowess prudence and perseverance imbued by him and believe that theseattributes will particularly prove valuable for navigating the uncertain times ahead.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown in several countriessummed up what has been one of the most challenging periods for the global and Indianeconomy. India's protracted economic slowdown also led to an overall reduction in theadvertising revenues available to the advertising industry. In the backdrop of this weare happy to report that D. B. Corp Ltd. has risen to the challenges and made significantgains to maintain its position as India's largest and most widely circulatednewspaper group [Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) July-December 2019].
The Newspaper Business - Growing from strength to strength
Our efforts in recent years have been to unify our editorial philosophywhile ensuring that we remain connected to the roots of the markets in which we operate.To this end we embed reader-centricity through our approach of Kendra MeinPathak' (Reader at the core) and drive knowledge by pursuing the theme of HarZaroori Khabar Mein Hoga Aapke Kaam Ka Knowledge' (news carrying knowledge you canuse). Our editorial philosophy has helped us to not only meet our readers'expectations but go beyond and create a deeper connect with our audiences.
Our unwavering endeavour to augment our audience connect throughinnovative initiatives is reaping the desired results. As per the Indian Readership Survey(IRS 2019 Q4) results Dainik Bhaskar Group is the largest newspaper group of India.Further Dainik Bhaskar has not only maintained its dominant position but has alsoachieved a significant lead over competition in most of the markets.
In Rajasthan Dainik Bhaskar has become the No.1 newspaper across allmetrics i.e. in terms of readership as per IRS 2019 Q4 data as well as circulation as perABC (July-December 2019) data.
As per the Indian Readership Survey (IRS) 2019 Q4 Report DainikBhaskar Group is the largest newspaper group of India. Further Dainik Bhaskar has notonly maintained its dominant position but has also achieved a significant lead overcompetition in most of the markets.
I am also pleased to share that underpinned by our prowess prudenceand perseverance the Dainik Bhaskar Group stands as the torchbearer of readership growth.
Over the past two years we have added 74.51 lakh total readers whichtranslates into a growth of 12.66% majorly in our legacy markets of Madhya PradeshChhattisgarh Rajasthan Haryana Punjab Gujarat and in the relatively new market ofBihar.
Even as new mediums of information increasingly emerge our editorialphilosophy has ensured that we stay relevant to our readers. The Dainik Bhaskar Groupcontinues to strive harder as it attains new milestones in circulation underscoring thesuccess of a focussed circulation strategy. This has helped the Group earn many laurelsthe most heartening being Dainik Bhaskar featuring amongst the World's Top 3Most Circulated Newspapers' in 2019 as per WAN IFRA's World Press Trends 2019.Dainik Bhaskar is the only newspaper from India to have featured in top 3 globalnewspapers.
As per the recent ABC Report for the period July-December 2019 DainikBhaskar Group continues to remain as the Highest Circulated Newspaper Group inIndia' with 54.41 lakh copies. This resilient position has been achieved
by demonstrating consistent growth and market share gain in many of thekey markets. In Rajasthan for example with 16.44 lakh copies and a notable lead DainikBhaskar attained the leadership position [Source: ABC (July- December 2019) data]. In thenewer market of Bihar we are strengthening our market position and have become the clearNo. 2 player in overall Bihar as well as in key urban cities of the state all achieved ina short span of time. In Gujarat we have gained market share while maintaining dominantposition in Madhya Pradesh and Chandigarh- Punjab-Haryana (CPH).
The Radio Business - Creating new avenues
In the Radio Business D. B. Corp Ltd. continues to be the largestplayer in Rest of Maharashtra and maintains leadership position in Chandigarh HaryanaPunjab Rajasthan Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. MY FM has been strategically aimed atTier II and Tier III radio networks as these markets are fuelling the growth of theIndian economy and are potential strong growth engines for the Dainik Bhaskar Group aswell. We are committed to provide enhanced listener experience through our deeplyentrenched customer-centric approach. With our brand philosophy of Aaj Kuch AchchaSunte Hain' (Let's listen to something cheerful today) MY FM has been at theforefront championing its vision to inform entertain and enlighten the communities we arepart of with a participative approach of progressive and positive inputs.
The Digital Business - Complementing our print strategy
We are using our print media expertise and experience to offer ouraudiences rich quality-led content in the digital format. We intensified our focus onstrengthening our loyal user base by revamping our direct properties including our appsand websites on Android and iOS devices. Seeing the potential in online to complement ourtraditional business our technology infrastructure has been completely revamped to enablea high level of data analysis experimentation and personalisation. We continue to focuson technology for continuous product optimisation to enable long-term growth andmonetisation strategy. In this digital era there is an immense opportunity for our onlineofferings and we are geared to leverage the same on the back of our customer-centricapproach.
Our Financial Performance
Cost Rationalisation Measures
Committed to continuous improvement after another year of goodperformance in FY 2018-19 we had embarked on
a cost rationalisation drive. Of course we never anticipated a globalpandemic but nonetheless these measures have borne fruit. Automation drives consistentinvestment in upgrading our assets and a firm control on expenses have not only reined-inour overall costs but have also helped us become a leaner and fitter organisation. Coupledwith the fact that newsprint prices continued a downward trajectory during the pastfiscal our laser-like focus on costs was a bonus for securing profitability.
Strengthening our Balance Sheet
Our debt-free balance sheet provides financial robustness and we arehappy to report that this year too we are well- placed to face future challenges. TheCompany continues to generate free cash flows that not only puts it in a strong positionbut also provides great confidence to our teams as they are able to see the results oftheir efforts.
For FY 2019-20 our Company reported a PAT of Rs. 2750 million (afterconsidering forex loss of Rs. 116 million) with a PAT margin of 12%. EBIDTA for the yearstood at Rs. 4940 million resulting in an EBITDA margin of 22%.
Rewarding our Shareholders
Being a positive cash generating Company our ethos has always been toensure that we return surplus funds to our shareholders. Over the past many years we havereturned
With our brand philosophy of Aaj Kuch Achcha Sunte Hain'(Let's listen to something cheerful today) MY FM has been at the forefrontchampioning its vision to inform entertain and enlighten the communities we are part ofwith a participative approach of progressive and positive inputs.
Our three-pronged strategy of safeguarding the safety of ourstakeholders ensuring that our newspaper reaches our readers every morning and helpingbusinesses advertise through innovation has earned us strong praise from our readers andadvertisers alike. almost two-thirds of our profits to shareholders as dividend. Thisyear too we have already declared 100% dividend i.e. Rs. 10 per share on face value ofRs 10 per share as dividend which works out to 77% pay-out (including dividend tax) ofour net profit.
COVID-19 - A global pandemic with local reverberations
Impact on our Business
The declaration of the nationwide lockdown resulted in a sudden fall innewspaper circulation mainly due to shutting down of cash sale counters like railwaystations bus depots and book stalls. The circulation of copies in offices and shops wasalso impacted during this period. However residential societies apartments and familiescontinued to consume newspapers with minor impact. With dedicated awareness campaigns byexperts to clear the myth that newspaper carry virus circulation has largely recovered inApril-June 2020 to around 80-85% level and is expected to reach normalcy once completelockdown is lifted. The upside was that as people were confined to their homes they spenta greater amount of time reading newspapers as indicated by market research. We arehopeful that this habit of readers will continue and prove beneficial to our industry.
We take pride in informing you that we continued the operations of ournewspapers without any interruption for all our 65 editions across states. We especiallyappreciate the efforts put in by the production editorial sales and other team membersfor ensuring continuity of operations both on the production as well as distributionside. While some of us were able to work from home newspaper reporting publishingprinting and distribution required our staff to be out in the field and our teamsdelivered consistently during this challenging time.
Our three-pronged strategy of safeguarding the safety of ourstakeholders ensuring that our newspaper reaches our readers every morning and helpingbusinesses advertise through innovation has earned us strong praise from our readers andadvertisers alike.
The Way Forward
While human spirit and science will eventually win the fight againstthe pandemic we are finding ourselves facing a different world till normalcy returns.During these times we have strengthened our resolve to ensure that we capitalise on everyavailable opportunity while keeping our readers at the centre of all our efforts. We areconfident that our approach of working for our stakeholders with our stakeholders willensure that we progress together.
Let me take this opportunity to thank our Board of DirectorsStakeholders for the encouragement and unstinted support and to our team for theiruntiring efforts to drive this company to greater heights.