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News |  25 May 2009 11:28 |  By ITV

Fever FM prepares for expansion, eyes acquisitions

MUMBAI: Fever FM, HT Media Ltd's radio business, is eyeing acquisitions and a turnover of Rs 500 million during the current fiscal as it gains market share in Mumbai and Bangalore.

The FM radio operator, which has a strategic tie up with Virgin, has no funding requirement and aims to operationally break even in FY'10.

"We have expansion plans in the 6-12 month period. We are also open to acquisitions if something interesting comes up at the right price and offers us a value proposition," says Fever FM business head and CFO S Keertivasan, while declining to comment on the company's financial forecast for the year.

Fever FM has almost Rs 200 million of its total turnover in FY'09 coming from Delhi. The push this year will be to gain revenue and market shares in Mumbai and Bangalore.

"We are preparing for share gains this fiscal," says Keertivasan, while admitting that the market is seeing very slow growth.

So will Fever FM look at leading some kind of an ad consortium? "Not really. We do not want to dilute our focus and position in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore at this stage. We will consider such options only after our turnover crosses Rs 500 million," says Keertivasan.

Fever FM would have achieved break even during the fourth quarter, but some revenue had to be deferred and shown in the next quarter.

Fever FM narrowed its operating loss to Rs 297.2 million for the fiscal ended 31 March 2009, compared to Rs 398.2 million a year ago.

Revenue rose to Rs 296.8 million as against Rs 257.9 million in FY'08.

Fever FM turned from a Hindi to a Kannada-language station in Bangalore while in Mumbai it changed the location of its tower and launched a Marathi show, moves that helped it grow in these markets. It also operates in Kolkata.

HT Media got the nod in March to demerge its radio business from its subsidiary HT Music and Entertainment Ltd. and merge the operation with itself.