Zee plans to invest Rs.8.5 billion in movie arm

Jul 26, 2008 NR

Mumbai, July 26 (IANS) Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) is planning to float a film subsidiary company under the name Zee Entertainment Studios, a top company official said Friday.

ZEEL plans to raise $210 million (Rs.8.5 billion) for the proposed venture. The process is already underway, Punit Goenka, CEO of ZEEL, told media Friday adding that the company might raise the funds through an initial public offering or private equity, depending on the market situation.

"Another option," a ZEEL official told IANS Saturday, "is to dilute 10-20 percent stake through an initial public offering at the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange in order to raise $200 million."

ZEEL has a library of 3,300 movie titles and it plans to shift its entire repertoire of movies to ZES.

ZES will produce 180 movies over a period of three years in six Indian languages, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati. Already about ten directors have been taken on board to execute the move projects being planned.

The official also revealed that ZES will have two production studios - Zee Motion Pictures and Zee Limelight. While the former will produce mainstream movies, the latter will put money on producing movies for a niche market.

"The company might also go in for co-productions as well," he said.

The film production business will synergise with Zee's other companies - exhibition through E-City, broadcasting, and distribution to monetise the developed movie content.

"In the first quarter of the current fiscal, the company released 'Jannat' in Hindi, and 'De Dhakka' in Marathi. The films earned operating profits of Rs.102 million and Rs.49.9 million respectively," the official said.

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