The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chandra’s new role sends Zee zooming

Mumbai, Oct. 16: Subhash Chandra’s decision to take over the reins of Zee Telefilms (ZTL) was greeted by a surge in the company stock as investors saw the media moghul’s new role as a recipe for improved performance.

The scrip ended at Rs 85.50 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, where it had opened at Rs 83.40 and hit a day’s high of Rs 87.40. The close marked an increase of more than 4.60 per cent over Monday’s finish for the share, which was the sixth most active on the bourse. Around 76.01 lakh shares changed hands in 31,750 deals.

On Monday, Zee announced that group chairman Chandra will don the executive’s mantle, taking the baton from broadcasting CEO Sandeep Goyal, who relinquished charge. Chandra will run the show with the help of a core team that includes Apurva Purohit, Prashant Sanwal, Y. Radhakrishnan, L. N. Goel and J. S. Kohli.

In the past, the Zee chief has said the focus would be on programming excellence, measured by benchmarks. Analysts say the company’s share, battered for weeks in the recent past, has looked up due to a string of steps to revamp programming.

According to an FII that has invested heavily in the stock, the Thursday premiers and weekly prime-time programme from Sunday on Zee’s flagship channel would help fight rival shows and boost broadcasting revenues.

MTNL mauled

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam (MTNL) came under intense selling pressure on reports that it could be acquired by Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) before being eventually merged with the unlisted state-owned firm.

The scrip opened at Rs 114.55 on Dalal Street, and finished at Rs 108.05 in a decline of around 5.5 per cent over the previous finish. The scrip has gone into a tailspin ever since communications minister Pramod Mahajan hinted at the possibility of a merger last month.

MTNL, perceived as a disinvestment candidate by a wide section of the market, suffered as investors feared greater competitive pressures and a loss of operational freedom should a merger with BSNL come about.

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