EAP entertainment and media firms go for Rs. 1.5 b listed debenture issues

Wednesday, 18 September 2013 00:35 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

RAM assigns BB+ and BBB rating to EAP Films & Theaters, EAP Broadcasting EAP Holdings Ltd.’s entertainment and media companies are planning to raise Rs. 1.5 billion via separate listed debentures issues and have obtained good rating from RAM. RAM Ratings Lanka has assigned EAP Broadcasting Company Ltd. (EAPB), formally known as EAP Networks Ltd., respective long- and short term corporate credit ratings of BBB and P3. Concurrently, a long-term rating of BBB has been assigned to EAPB’s proposed Rs. 1 billion Listed Senior Secured Redeemable Debentures (2013/2018). Long-term ratings carry a Stable Outlook. Separately, RAM has also assigned respective long- and short-term corporate credit ratings of BBB+ and P2 to EAP Films and Theatres Ltd. (EAPF). Concurrently, a long-term rating of BBB+ has been assigned to EAPF’s proposed Rs. 500 million Listed Senior Secured Redeemable Debentures (2013/2018). The long-term ratings carry a Stable Outlook. The media and entertainment arm of the EAP Holdings in existence for decades includes EAP Films and Theaters with its premier state of the art cinemas, as well as the EAP Broadcasting Company Ltd., with their signature television channels Swarnavahini and ETV and their pioneering radio stations Shree FM, E FM and Ran FM. A press release by Ram Ratings read: “The ratings are upheld by the company’s dominance in film exhibition industry. EAPF has a strong market position in film exhibition. The company owns and manages 45 theatres in strategic locations in Sri Lanka. This, coupled with the company’s wide network of theatres, makes it the preferred choice when commercial movies are released.” It added: “Additionally, EAPF is one of five film distributors in Sri Lanka licensed by the National Film Corporation (NFC) to import and exhibit foreign films. The company has an approximate 60% share of the local film exhibition market, which gives it an edge over its peers.” The digitalisation of the cinema industry, which EAP Films and Theaters is spearheading, will guarantee enhanced picture, sound quality and effects which will keep audiences at the edge of their seats. EAP said the 3D revolution that ignited the cinema circuit over three years ago from the Savoy Wellawatte will now revive the entire film and theatre industry in the country, and will increase the number of moviegoers to record levels. The digitalisation process introduced by EAP Films & Theaters will also help large or small-scale cinemas make profits due to the cost difference between analogue prints, which are priced high in comparison to its newer and trendier digital prints. Large storage space required for analogue prints too is now a thing of the past, thanks to digital technology. Regarding EBC, Ram Ratings stated: “The ratings are upheld by the company’s notable presence in the TV industry. EBC has one of the largest television (TV) networks in Sri Lanka in terms of viewership, with a strong coverage islandwide. The company owns and operates Swarnavahini – a premier TV channel broadcasted in the Sinhala language.” Out-of-the-box programming concepts and content pioneered by the broadcasting sector of the arm has received many accolades locally and globally in the past. Swarnavahini has been synonymous for its novel news program ‘Live at 8,’ as well as its much-loved tele-dramas. The channel maintains the highest qualitative standards while still being regarded as socially responsible. Innovative programming and promotional concepts on Shree FM, Ran FM and E FM have garnered international recognition from the National Association of Broadcasters based in the United States and by the Association of International Broadcasters, based in the United Kingdom. EAP Holdings Ltd. Managing Director Jeewaka Edirisinghe was delighted with the ratings: “We are spurred on by the ratings we have received. It stands as a testament to all the hard work put in and our eagerness to innovate. We won’t stop here, our plans for the future will see us forging ahead with an aggressive drive forward which will benefit all stakeholders concerned.” EAP Holdings Ltd. is one of the largest and leading conglomerates in Sri Lanka with a history of over 75 years. The group has diversified into different fields such as jewellery, media and entertainment, hotel and hospitality, real estate and property development, and leasing and finance, to name a few.