GMA's Felipe Gozon: No to offers for now
MANILA, Philippines – GMA Network Incorporated Chairman Felipe L. Gozon said the network will not entertain offers until it hits its growth ceiling.
"[A]t this point, it will be better for the shareholders to focus first in growing the business of the company. It’s on the verge of really taking off and we don’t know where the ceiling is. That means we'll not be entertaining offers until we reach the ceiling," Gozon said in a press conference on Thursday, November 5.
Gozon's remarks came after he announced that GMA's net income for the first 9 months of the year ballooned by 79%, with both of its airtime revenues and nationwide ratings effectively maintained at a positive level.
The GMA chief said the network is in a "strong financial position" as it continues to "dominate the nationwide ratings."
No suitors for now
"We'll be focusing more on growing our business. We'll improve the ratings of our programs. We'll improve the profitability of our operations and cut our costs," Gozon said.
It was in June when talks collapsed between Ramon S. Ang and the majority shareholders of GMA for the businessman’s planned acquisition of a minority stake in the listed broadcast network.
This was the fifth time that broadcast giant terminated acquisition talks with a possible investor.
Some analysts said it could be because GMA was not in a hurry to sell a stake, feeling it could fetch a higher price. (READ: Why GMA-Ramon Ang talks collapsed)
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT); Globe Telecom Incorporated; former Ilocos Governor Chavit Singson; and Manny Pacquiao are among the rumored suitors of GMA Network for a minority stake.
But Gozon, during the briefing, put an end to the reports, saying "We have not received formally an offer. With the 3 of us as partners (Jimenez, Gozon, and Duavit), so far it is working well. The 3 of us as partners, we really want to see up to where we can go."
2015: ‘Very good year'
Gozon said his network is confident to finish 2015 on a solid note in terms of revenues and ratings.
Revenues during the third quarter increased by 17% to P3.66 billion ($77.98 million); while net income soared 66% to P706 million ($15.04 million) as airtime revenues and consolidated sales from international operations, subsidiaries, and other revenue streams exceeded that of last year.
By the end of the first 9 months, the company’s revenues stood at P10.31 billion ($219.61 million), 16% higher than 2014. Its operating expenses in the first 9 months inched up by 2% to P7.68 billion ($163.59 million) even as total production cost grew by 5%.
"I think the P2 billion ($42.60 million) is reachable as net income after tax for 2015: my reason for that is by end-September, we're about P1.8 billion ($38.33 million) already. We see higher revenue in October, and we have practically reduced our operating expenses," Gozon said.
"The combined effect of these things led me to believe that our 2015 will be a very good year for us," Gozon added.
Asked if the #AlDub phenomenon significantly drove GMA’s net income, Gozon replied: "Actually, AlDub is part of Eat Bulaga. We get paid blocktime by TAPE Incorporated."
TAPE is the producer of noontime show Eat Bulaga, which carries the popular #AlDub segment.
His remarks were echoed by GMA Executive Vice-President and CFO Felipe S. Yalong.
“It [driver of net income] is more of the other programs, like Wowowin, which is co-produced by the network and Willie Revillame. There is a continued improvement in primetime ratings, which in turn meant additional load advantage," Yalong said.
"Drivers are coming from normal advertisers, so it’s really more on the increased commercials aired," Yalong added.
Airtime revenues for the first 9 months reached P9.37 billion ($199.55 million), exceeding last year’s performance by 18%.
Propelling the increase was flagship TV station GMA Channel 7 as it recorded an 18% growth in its topline. – Rappler.com
$1 = P46.95