Dish TV targets new cash for break even

Rose Major and Chris Forrester

Zee TV-backed Indian DTH operator Dish TV hopes to be fully funded through to break even, after plans to raise an extra US$150 million emerged.

Money raised through foreign currency convertible bonds will go towards customer acquisition, as the company targets an extra 2.5 million subscribers this year, according to Dish TV has over 5 million DTH subscribers.

Dish is already raising a considerable amount of cash some Rs11.4 billion over 18 months but the Indian DTH market is proving highly competitive and operators are starting to slash prices to attract customers.

Dish TV, although separately quoted, is related to the giant Subhash Chandra Essel/Zee TV operation, and is looking to have 9 million DTH subs by 2010. Dish TV is not yet profitable, and has further cash-raising plans locally as well as the $150m foreign placement.

Dish TV has also reportedly been seeking Private Equity participation in its business.