Companies & Sectors
NDTV rewards management with ‘excess’ remuneration despite heavy losses

NDTV share price has plunged 20% and hit the lower circuit on BSE amidst heavy quarterly losses. Yet the company continues to heap lavish remuneration to its top management at the expense of shareholders

NDTV reported net a loss of Rs18.88 crore, for the June 2013 quarter, which is nearly equal to its entire loss of Rs20.34 crore incurred during the 2012-13 fiscal. On a consolidated basis, the company has made a net loss of Rs24.04 crore in first quarter, which is nearly as bad as the Rs26.09 crore net loss for the same period a year ago. Yet, NDTV doled out an excess of Rs24.50 lakh (in managerial remuneration during the June 2013 quarter alone) which is beyond stipulated limits, as per the law. During FY2013, NDTV paid top executives Rs1.68 crore. On Tuesday, NDTV hit its lower circuit (20% down) and was locked at Rs74.8 on the BSE.

In its report, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) auditors of NDTV stated, “We draw your attention to note2 to the Statement regarding managerial remuneration, in respect of subsidiaries, amounting to Rs24.50 lakh paid during the quarter ended 30 June 2013 (Rs167.71 lakh paid till 31 March 2013) in excess of the limits specified in Schedule XIII of the Companies Act, 1956, which is subject to the approval of the central government. In the event that the central government approvals are not received, the aforesaid amounts are to be refunded by such directors. Had these amounts been recognised as recoverable from the director(s), the loss after taxation for the quarter would have been Rs22.12 lakh and loss per share for the quarter would have been Rs3.43.”

The company has reported operating losses in four of the last six quarters. Similarly, year-on-year (y-o-y) quarterly net sales fell in five of the last six quarters. At the same time, NDTV reported a net loss in four of the last six quarters.

Sanjay Dutt of Quantum Securities, and a long-term shareholder of NDTV, has pointed out that while public shareholders have made no money, the promoters and directors pay themselves lavishly. As recently as 12 July 2013, NDTV sought central government’s permission under Sec 640B, for enhanced remuneration to directors, even though there are no profits from operations, nor have taxes paid for many years. Dutt further stated that NDTV’s executive management, a small group close to the promoters, which includes journalists, law firms, tax advisers and consultants, has enjoyed first class business travel, hefty remuneration, ex-gratia bonuses etc, adding up to a massive Rs320 crore over four years (plus ESOPS), even as the company has made losses, failed to pay dividends and has not paid taxes.

Sanjay Dutt alleges that company allegedly broke rules. He said that Prannoy Roy received irregular promoter funding of Rs375 crore by pledging NDTV shares which, according to him, is against the rules. The Moneylife exclusive can be accessed here:
As a result, NDTV has threatened to sue Quantum Securities

This isn’t the first time that NDTV’s top management has shafted its shareholders to fund their lavish lifestyle. The company has been running a flawed business model for years and Moneylife wrote a piece way back in 2010, noting that the company was headed towards losses (Once a glamour stock, NDTV headed for sickness?). The company has been losing viewership and its ratings have gone down due to intense competition in the media industry.


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Sensex, Nifty may be in for a short bounce: Tuesday closing report

Nifty may try to bounce back but a short-term rally is possible only on a close above 5,625 tomorrow 

After three days of positive opening, the domestic indices opened lower today. The Sensex opened at 19,127 and the Nifty opened at 5,665. With almost at the opening of the session the indices hit their respective high. The NSE recorded a volume of 69.04 crore shares.


The indices were pulled down with the rupee hitting its record low. The Sensex reached 18,667, which is the lowest since 26 June 2013, while the Nifty hit the 5,522, the lowest since 15 April 2013.


Both the Sensex and the Nifty saw the highest absolute fall since 20 June 2013. The Sensex closed at 18,733 (fell 449 points, 2.34%) while the Nifty closed at 5,542 (fell 143 points, 2.52%).


In the meanwhile, the finance ministry is expected to announce five-six measures to curb CAD. According to Finance Ministry sources, the government may tell Public Sector Units (PSUs) like IRFC, PFC, IIFCL to float quasi-sovereign bonds. The government will look to raise around $507 billion through the bonds.  Another measure that is being looked at is import tariff hikes for non-essential imports. Among the indices, the top loser was Realty (4.61%); Finance (4.12%); Media (3.95%); Bank Nifty (3.88%) and Commodities (3.29%). After market hours, news came in of the appointment of Raghuram Govind Rajan, the country's chief economic advisor to the finance ministry, as the 23rd governor of RBI.


Of the 50 stocks on the Nifty, four ended in the green: Ambuja Cements (1.13%); Tata Motors (0.79%); Power Grid(0.48%) and TCS (0.20%). The main losers were Tata Power (14.35%); Asian Paints (7.34%); IndusInd Bank (7.14%); BHEL (7.08%) and BPCL (6.69%).


US stocks fell on Monday, 5 August 2013 after a report indicating better-than-expected growth in the service sector and a Federal Reserve official's remarks that the central bank is closer to curbing its asset purchases. Federal Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher, one of the more ardent critics of quantitative easing, told an audience in Portland, Oregon, that investors should not count on the Fed to continue its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases indefinitely.


The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index for the US rose to 56 in July, beating the median estimate and June's 52.2 reading.


Economic output in emerging economies contracted in July to its slowest pace since April 2009, marking a fresh low since the global financial crisis, according to HSBC Holdings PLC. The HSBC Emerging Markets Index, which tracks purchasing managers' index reports from 16 emerging economies, declined to 49.4 in July from 50.6 the previous month, HSBC said in a report. A reading above 50 indicates an expansion in activity.


Australia's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low and damped expectations of further reductions. Governor Glenn Stevens and his board reduced the overnight cash-rate target by a quarter percentage point to 2.5%, the Reserve Bank of Australia said in a statement in Sydney today.


Most of the Asian indices closed in the red. Hang Seng, fell the most, fell 1.34% while Nikkei 225, top gainer, rose 1%. Most of the European indices were trading in the red. The US Futures were also trading in the negative.


GAIL India plans to sell part of its 4.6% stake in Hong Kong-listed city gas distribution firm China Gas Holdings. GAIL had made a strategic investment of Rs137 crore by acquiring 210 million shares of China Gas in 2005. The company plans to keep a small strategic interest in the company that will help it retain its board position in China Gas. GAIL picked up equity in the company as China was keen to replicate Delhi's success in using natural gas as a vehicular and domestic fuel in its cities, primarily Beijing, before the 2008 Olympics. Now that the city gas distribution business is being pursued by GAIL's wholly owned subsidiary, GAIL Gas, the company feels continuation of the investment in China Gas does not appear to meet the original objectives. GAIL fell 1% to close at Rs302 on the NSE.


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