India's HT Media reports second-quarter loss as newsprint costs surge

BENGALURU (Reuters) - India's HT Media Ltd reported a second-quarter loss on Monday, dragged by higher costs of newsprint.

Consolidated net loss for the three months ended Sept. 30 came at 1.56 billion rupees ($18.97 million), compared with a profit of 232.3 million rupees a year earlier, the New Delhi-based media company said in an exchange filing.

The print business has been harmed by rising newsprint prices, which have taken the brunt of high inflation brought on by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, despite some companies raising their advertising expenditures as the economy reopened.

"Profitability of the print business was significantly impacted by elevated newsprint rates. We are seeing signs of pressure easing on this front, although the benefit of this will flow only in later quarters," said Chairperson Shobhana Bhartia.

The mass media conglomerate that owns English daily Hindustan Times, business newspaper Mint, and popular radio brand Fever FM in its porfolio, said cost of materials consumed climbed 71.2% for the reported quarter.

Total expenses rose nearly 26.6% to 5.14 million rupees.

Peer Jagran Prakashan posted a 16.6% fall in its second-quarter profit on Friday on higher input costs.

HT Media shares jumped around 10.7% in the quarter

Revenue from operations rose 10.7% to 4.09 billion rupees in the current quarter.

($1 = 82.2200 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Yagnoseni Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)