Eros International's revenue, profits leap

Focus on consolidating Indian market

LONDON -- Indian film production and distribution group Eros International posted a 28% rise in net profit to $39 million for fiscal 2008, attributing growth to expansion in domestic Indian boxoffice receipts as well as strong television syndication sales.

Profit growth at Eros, which listed on London's Alternative Investment Market in 2006, came with a 70% increase in group revenue to $113 million for the 12 months to the end of March 2008.

Chairman and CEO Kishore Lulla said Eros' core market remained the Indian subcontinent and the South Indian diaspora overseas and would not follow such ventures as Anil Ambani's Reliance Big Entertainment into investing directly in Hollywood production.

"Our take is somewhat different, that the U.S. market has plateaued. We are sitting on a market that is growing at 22% a year, so our focus is to consolidate the Indian market rather than invest in Hollywood," he said.

Lulla said that emerging markets had proved significant drivers for growth across film and television.

"We're expanding into new emerging markets," citing a 104% increase in revenues in Europe in the past year. "There's a lot of income coming from our catalog, which is a 90%-95% margin business."

Revenue from worldwide theatrical releases, including of such films as the comedy "Om Shanti Om," grew 147% to $52 million last year, while the television syndication grew 56.3% to $33 million.

Mimi Turner reported from London; Nyay Bhushan reported from New Delhi.