Adani-owned NDTV profit plunges about 98% on weak advertising demand

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FILE PHOTO: New Delhi Television (NDTV) microphone is seen on roadside in New Delhi

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Indian broadcaster New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV), part of the embattled Adani Group, posted a 97.6% plunge in quarterly profit on Monday due to weak advertising demand.

The results come as businesses worldwide look to rein in costs such as advertising to ride out an economic downturn caused by persistently high inflation and aggressive interest rate hikes.

NDTV reported a consolidated net profit of 5.9 million rupees ($72,206.58) for the quarter ended March 31, compared with 241.6 million rupees a year earlier.

Revenue from operations fell 35.5% to 669.6 million rupees due to a "slowdown in global advertisement spend," the media company said. Total expenses rose 5.9%, driven by production and services costs.

NDTV and other Adani Group-owned companies have seen their share prices take a beating since U.S. short-seller Hindenburg Research on Jan. 24 raised concerns about the conglomerate's debt levels and use of tax havens. Adani Group has denied the allegations.

Shares of NDTV have fallen about 33% since then, while the Nifty Media index has declined 9.69% during the same period.

Ports-to-energy conglomerate Adani Group holds an about 64.7% stake in NDTV through RRPR Holding and Vishvapradhan Commercial after a contentious battle last year.

Last month, rival TV18 Broadcast Ltd, owned by Reliance Industries Ltd, also reported a slump in quarterly profit, citing lower-than-expected advertising revenue.

($1 = 81.7100 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Anuran Sadhu in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)