Multi-system operator (MSO) Siti Cable is targeting a total digital subscriber base of 10 million and has a gross funding requirement of Rs. 1,200 crore (Rs 12 billion), a top executive of the company said.
Siti Cable, which already has 3.6 million digital set-top boxes (STBs) deployed, expects to collect Rs. 600 crore (Rs 6 billion) from activation charges as it digitises its full subscriber universe. With the promoters putting in Rs. 240 crore (Rs 2.40 billion), the balance amount will be raised through debt or equity.
After phase I and II, our digital subscriber base stands at 3.6 million. The expectation is to convert our analogue base into digital, so we will be targeting a digital subscriber base of 10 million after phases III and IV,” said Siti Cable CEO VD Wadhwa.
According to Wadhwa, the gross fund requirement is to the tune of Rs. 1,200 crore, out of which the promoters will be putting in Rs. 240 crore this fiscal. This should take care of the funding for the next six months. “Obviously, initially you don’t need to put in the entire money upfront. It will happen over a period of next 12 months or so. The promoters will invest to the tune of Rs. 240 crore (Rs. 2.40 billion) towards the equity warrants issued in their favour. This money is likely to come in before the end of the year,” Wadhwa said.
Siti Cable has close to one million boxes in stock. “It is good enough for the next two-three months. All our activities are moving as per plan,” Wadhwa claimed.
Though Siti Cable has not seen similar growth as some of its rival MSOs, Wadhwa is not worried. “The approach is to get quality paid subscribers. Though our digital subscriber base is relatively low compared to some of the other MSOs, our revenue collections are superior. Our activation realisation has been higher than the other MSOs,” he said.