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August 4, 1997


VSNL net shoots up 23.24 per cent

The Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited has recorded an 18.16 per cent increase in revenues for fiscal 1996-97. The total revenues topped Rs 52.85 billion for the year as compared with Rs 44.73 billion for the previous year.

The net profit showed a 23.24 per cent rise, at Rs 5.04 billion as against Rs 4.09 billion in 1995-96. But this represents a lower growth in profit, given the over 33 per cent jump in 1995-96.

The board of the company, which met last week, has recommended a dividend of 35 per cent for 1996-97.

Revenue from value-added specialised services increased by 69.41 per cent to Rs 2.14 billion, up from Rs 1.26 billion for the previous year. Revenue from such services constitute 4.06 per cent of the total take-in for 1996-97. The major contributor in this growth has been sales of leased lines.

There has also been a 20.64 per cent increase in the volume of telephony traffic - from 1.14 billion paid minutes to 1.38 billion. Traffic revenues from basic services rose by 16.05 per cent to Rs 49.96 billion (Rs 43.05 billion).

The earnings per share has jumped to Rs 63.09, up from Rs 51.19. The company has provided for a tax outgo of Rs 3.22 billion for 1996-97.

The net worth of the company has more than doubled after the GDR issue with an increase of over 128 per cent to Rs 30.08 billion as of March 1997 (Rs 13.17 billion for the previous year).

During the year, VSNL also signed a five-year revenue-sharing agreement with the Department of Telecommunications under the supervision of the Telecom Commission.

The settlement assures VSNL its net revenues per minute from international basic telephony and restructures the licence fee arrangement.

The company has declared a lower interest outgo at Rs 44.3 million for 1996-97 as compared with Rs 66.5 million for the previous year.

During 1996-97, VSNL also successfully completed a $526.60 million GDR issue.

The issue was the largest from India and the first government divestment in the GDR form. The offer was for 15 million new shares of VSNL in the form of 30 million GDRs and the Indian government's divestment of 3.8 million shares in March this year.

The issue was over-subscribed 10 times at the book building price and 4.4 times at the issue price of $13.93 per GDR, a 1.6 per cent premium to the domestic price on the date of the issue.

The issue drew investment interest from 662 investors from over 28 countries. Also, it was in 1996-97 that VSNL was selected by the government as one of the Navratnas, the nine Indian companies identified as having potential to become global giants, and awarded special financial and managerial freedom to facilitate rapid progress.

VSNL was also selected for setting up and operating one of the 12 global satellite access nodes for the ICO mobile telephony venture, following a process of international competitive bidding.

A VSNL press note adds that the current year begins on an optimistic note, with first quarter (April to June 1997) trends showing a 25 per cent jump in traffic volumes over the corresponding period in 1996 and about a 4.5 per cent increase over the previous quarter ending March 1997.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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