GMA Network income up 17% to P1.79b in 9 months

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — Publicly listed GMA Network Inc. yesterday reported a consolidated net income after tax of P1.788 billion in the first nine months of 2007, up 17 percent from a year ago, on the back of a 7 percent rise in revenues.

In its first investors’ briefing following its initial public offering on July 30, the company said total revenues in the nine-month period amounted to P8.818 billion, compared with P8.261 billion during the same period last year.

The company booked a third-quarter net income of P662 million, up 7 percent from P617 million a year earlier as revenues rose 6 percent to P3.123 billion from P2.960 billion.

“GMA Network continued to top last year’s performance as the company surpassed the P1-billion mark in monthly gross revenues six times in 2007,” the company said.

GMA chairman and chief executive Felipe Gozon said the company was on track of achieving its full-year net income target of more than P2 billion. “We have the momentum now. We will be sustaining this growth,” he said.

Executives said the company’s P1.788-billion profit gave the company a net income margin of 20 percent, compared with rival ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.’s P1.135 billion on 8 percent margin.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization grew 13 percent to 3.462 billion on higher net revenues and other income. Total assets amounted to P12.462 billion at the end of September, up 27 percent from a year ago.

The company’s international operations (GMA Pinoy TV and syndication) registered a 52 percent increase in revenues in the first nine months over the same period last year mainly due to the growth in subscriber count. As of August this year, GMA Pinoy TV already has an estimated total of 735,000 viewers worldwide based on 147,000 subscribers.

Radio’s revenues, however, fell 8 percent largely due to the government ban on cigarette ads effective January 2007.

Expenses grew 4 percent to P3.997 billion as production costs and talent fees of Channel 7, which accounted for 45 percent of the total, moved up 9 percent higher than last year.

The company plans to spend P900 million to establish new facilities and upgrade existing ones in order to expand its reach, company executives said.

Company executive vice president and chief operating officer Gilberto Duavit Jr. said the company continued its expansion projects in the regions in its drive to gain supremacy in other parts of the country, including the Bicol Region, Visayas and Mindanao.

The company said it maintained its lead in Mega Manila TV ratings as of the third quarter of 2007. Based on Mega Manila TV ratings data from AGB-Nielsen for the third quarter, GMA posted an average total day rating of 18.1 percent against ABS-CBN’s 14.5 percent.