Jagran Prakashan group reveals FY 2021 results

In a brutal year for print media, Jagran controls costs to maintain profitability

Dainik Jagran
Leading Indian print news media, the hindi daily Dainik Jagran

Listed on the National Stock Exchange, the Jagran Prakashan group publisher of the leading Hindi daily Dainik Jagran and the Urdu daily Inquilab released its numbers for the financial year ending March 2021. Jagran Prakashan’s consolidated total income from operations in FY21 declined by 38.53% to Rs. 1,289.19 crore in comparison to Rs. 2,097.32 crore in Fy 2020. The group’s net profit after tax declined by 69.44% to Rs 84.72 crore in FY 20-21 from its net profit of Rs 277.18 crore in FY 2019-20. (From the extract published as a display ad in The Business Standard of 29 May 2021)

Nevertheless, Jagran reported a marked improvement in its consolidated net profits at Rs 39.90 crore for FY 2021 Q4 compared to the previous year’s January to March quarter (Rs 5.72 crore). For Q4 of FY 2021, the total income declined by only 8.8% to Rs 406.37 crore from Rs 445.56 crore in Q4 of FY 2020. This can be seen as evidence of the economic recovery before the second wave of the pandemic hit the economy and advertising revenues. Moreover, in the recent FY 2020 Q4, expenses were 18.1% lower at Rs. 357.57 crore compared to expenses of 436.56 crore in last quarter of FY 2020. 

From the numbers reported, employee costs have not been slashed by the group while they have declined by 10.94% to Rs. 371.46 in FY 21 from 417.09 in FY 20 and the Rs. 419.23 in FY 2019. The Jagran group’s reserves, however, went back up during the year to Rs. 1.939.67 crore, almost reaching the levels of FY 2018 when it reported reserves at Rs. 1,967.94 crore. 

The figures that we find most interesting are of raw material consumption since that is a way to gauge a composite of total circulation and pagination in the year and a good indicator of newsprint consumption and offset plates, blankets, inks, and chemicals. The raw material consumption of the group in FY 21 was Rs 305.37 crore in comparison to Rs. 600.92 crore in FY 2020 and Rs 730.10 in FY2019.

March 2021March 2020March 2019March 2018March 2017
Income from operations in Rs crore1289.192097.322362.652303.982282.95
Consumption of raw materials305.37600.92730.10664.08652.44
Employees cost371.46417.09419.23400.31373.99
Source: Moneycontrol.com

Jagran Prakashan’s chairman and managing director, Mahendra Mohan Gupta, said, “While commenting on the results for Q3FY21, I was quite hopeful that the pandemic was nearing the end, at least in India. The second wave and its intensity, in particular, shook all of us, impacting businesses once again in an unprecedented manner and pushing large numbers of people to below the poverty line.” 

Speaking about the coming year, Gupta remained optimistic, “I am confident that FY22 is going to be better than FY21, which was satisfactory in the light of extended lockdowns which were not envisaged at the beginning of FY21.”

The company has also announced a share buyback of Rs 118 crore at Rs 60 a share. The company’s current market cap is Rs 1516.74 at Rs 57.45 per share, each with a face value of Rs 2. 

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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