India's DQE raises $56 mil on stock exchange


NEW DELHI -- Indian animation company DQ Entertainment, based in the southern city of Hyderabad, raised 26.8 million pounds ($56 million) via its listing on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange.

According to an announcement late Friday, DQE listed on Tuesday and placed 19,727,961 new ordinary shares priced at 1.36 pounds ($2.69) a share. DQE will have a market capitalization of 48.9 million pounds ($96.9 million) on admission.

The company had earlier raised $10 million through debts. Following the AIM listing, DQE has raised a total of $66 million, which will be used to expand its existing India production base, developing an international sales and distribution network and funding European acquisitions and joint ventures.

DQE chairman Tapaas Chakravarti said, "The AIM listing will assist the company to keep pace with the growth challenges and manage it well. DQE aims to expand into the global animation market through an extension of its product line including co-production/IP rights."

In August 2006, DQE bought 20% equity in France-based TV production house Method Films for about $3.7 million. DQE also acquired 51% equity for $2.2 million in a joint venture with another Paris-based production company Onyx Films to partner on as many as 10 CGI feature projects in the near future.

DQE also has signed co-production deals with U.S.-based Marvel Comics to work on the popular "Iron Man" series. DQE's current order book is worth US$94.6 million, spanning 40 projects at various stages of production over the next three years. DQE runs seven facilities in Hyderabad, employing 2,200 employees.

The animation and gaming market addressable by DQE was estimated at US$401 million in 2006 and is forecast to reach US$1.3 billion by 2010 in India, according to a report by Indian software services and industry body NASSCOM. The worldwide animation and gaming market is expected to grow from $80.1 billion in 2006 to $123 billion in 2010.

DQE is be the latest Indian entertainment company to raise capital on AIM following recent listings by Eros Entertainment, UTV Motion Pictures and Indian Film Co.