Japanese satellite broadcaster Wowow has unveiled plans to raise about $172.4m (Y20bn) by listing shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange's Mothers market for venture capital firms. The company plans to list by the end of March but may delay until April or beyond depending on market conditions.
Wowow plans to allocate these funds towards new equipment and programme acquisitions, including films. It plans to launch a new communications satellite (CS) service early next year, while continuing to build the digital broadcast satellite (BS) service it has been operating since December. It has already launched a planning company for the CS service with the NTV network, the Mitsubishi trading house and the NTT Group.
In the 1999 financial year, which ended in March 2000, Wowow recorded earnings of $541.4m (Y62.8bn) and pretax profits of $64m (Y7.424bn). For the 2000 fiscal year, it expects to incur a pretax loss of $27.6m (Y3.2bn), caused by capital and promotional expenditures in launching its digital BS service. This will be the broadcaster's first such loss in six years, since fiscal 1995. However, Wowow, has been steadily adding subscribers, which numbered 2.6 million by the end of December.
Wowow had been planning to list on the first section of the TSE, but by the end of September 2000 it was still carrying a cumulative loss of $102.6m (Y11.9bn), which made it opt instead for the Mothers market, which has less stringent listing requirements.