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Rahejas, ex-Hinduja directors join hands to float cable firm

Sibabrata Das

Mumbai, Aug 25: The Rajan Raheja-promoted Hathway Cable and Datacom have entered into a joint venture company with Win Cable, a firm floated by former Hinduja group directors. The joint venture company will enable the Rahejas to get a foothold in the suburbs of Mumbai. Hathway already controls south Mumbai.

The new company which will be christened Win Cable Datacom will see Rahejas holding 80 per cent stake and the balance by Win Cable promoters. The investments for the cable business project will, however, be done by the Rahejas.

Win Cable promoters, Jagjit Kohli, Yogesh Radhakrishnan and Yogesh Shah, had in July announced their entry into cable distribution business. With the financial support of the Rahejas, they hope to become major players in the country.

Said Kohli, "When we were in INCablenet, we had introduced corporate consolidation in cable business a few years back. Now, with our expertise, we will take it to a new level. We are preparing the grounds for interactivity and pay TV."

WinCable has already tied up with the Chennai-based Sterling group to provide value-added services. For cable distribution, they will now have the financial muscle of the Rahejas.

Win Cable Datacom is introducing the 750-MHz technology with fibre backbone while most of the cable networks are of 550 MHz. Kohli said the network will initially offer 75 channels while other operators are providing 67 channels.

The joint venture company has acquired two head-ends at Bandra and Borivili in the western suburbs of Mumbai. Four more are almost ready: at Andheri West, Andheri East, Malad and Mira Road. "We will have 10 head-ends in Mumbai soon," Kohli said.

Media analysts say the joint venture company will shake up the cable market in Mumbai which is already affected by pay channels, stiff competition and rivalry among the multiple system operators (MSOs).

The fight between INCablenet and the new company came out in the open on Wednesday with the Bandra, Khar and Santacruz Cable Operators' Association threateningto go on an indefinite cable TV bandh and morcha against the alleged strong-arm tactics used by the Hinduja network."Due to strong-arm tactics and threats in the name of underworld to sign monopolistic agreement with INCablenet through their distributors, the cable TV operators of the association have decided to discontinue the transmission of InCablenet. We are joining Win Cable TV network," the association said in a press release on Wednesday.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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