Eros plans further Indian expansion

AIM-listed media company Eros International plc plans to continue its acquisition strategy in India.

AIM-listed media company Eros International plc plans to continue its acquisition strategy in India.

Speaking to M&A, Eros’ chief operating officer Jyoti Deshpande said the company is in talks with Indian content and distribution businesses as it seeks to capitalise on its position as a leading player in the Hindi film sector.

“Every day we are talking to people looking to align [with Eros],” Deshpande said. “There are a few deals in the pipeline that are similar to the deals we have announced.”

Recent transactions Eros have completed include acquiring a 51% stake in Ayngaran International Ltd, the holding company for Tamil film maker Ayngaran. The deal included Eros investing $33 million [£16.2 million] to grow the business, which has a library of some 600 films with about 25 more in production.

Although Eros’s current acquisition focus is on content and distribution, in the medium to long term the company will look at other opportunities, possibly in the TV and cable sectors. But Deshpande does not envisage Eros paying out “large sums” for any acquisitions.

She added that Eros is attractive to potential targets because of its global distribution network.

The company, which is based in the Isle of Man, is well placed to make admissions, having recently raised £16 million on AIM through a share placing. In addition, the business is cash generative and is not leveraged. “We are right now comfortable we are in position to fund these acquisitions, but if need be we can always go back to the market and raise some more,” Deshpande said.

The company also posted positive preliminary results for the year ended March 31, 2007, with turnover up 48.6% to $66.4 million and pre-tax profits soaring by 76% to £32.5 million. On the back of the announcement on July 4, Eros’s share price rose to a high of 540p from 392p, before falling back to 520p at the time of writing, giving the company a market cap of some £590 million.

“We have delivered what we said we would deliver; we have done the first wave of consolidation and all the money we are raising is firmly going into what we said we would invest in, which is content,” Deshpande said. “Investors believe in our strategy and we have full support from our investors and full visibility of our plans.”

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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