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Prime Focus: An overview

Dec 27, 2007

Prime Focus is one of the largest integrated post production and visual effects services company for films and TV content in the world. Prime Focus offers end-to end services and its suite of offerings covers every aspect of production and post production including camera rentals, digital intermediation for film, post-production (film and advertising) and visual effects (film and advertising). History
It began operations in 1996 as a TV post production house. In 2002, Prime Focus entered the film post production business and in 2005 it started offering visual effects (VFX) and post production services. It tapped the capital markets in 2006.

Growth opportunity
Globally, the top 10 all time grossers are movies heavily loaded with visual effects wherein the post production and visual effects budget averaged to approximately 70% of the cost of production (Titanic, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, etc.). A similar trend can be observed emerging in India. Three of the recent big Bollywood hits – ‘Dhoom 2’, ‘Krissh’ and ‘Don’ had visual effects of more than 50 minutes each. The VFX and animation industry in India is said to be growing at a robust rate of 38% and 25% respectively.

Increasing labour costs are forcing international production houses/VFX houses to outsource part of the work to other low cost studios. India has the competitive edge in terms of technical know-how and talent to emerge as a major outsourcing hub for entertainment technology. The cost differential for India in comparison to the UK market is as high as 6-8 times and 3-4 times for the US market. Industry experts believe that Indian entertainment technology services have the ability to grow at a CAGR of around 35% over the next 10 years.

Client base
It services the Indian film industry, Indian advertising industry, Indian television broadcasting companies and Hollywood film industry. Leading ad agencies such as HTA, O&M and FCB Ulka and top ad film production houses such as Corcoise Films and MAD Films are its clients. In the case of Hindi film industry, almost 60% of the industry's post production requirements are met by Prime Focus. Its client list includes reputed film makers such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Sajid Nadiadwala. Leading TV channels such as Star TV, Sony, Zee and MTV and music companies like Tips, T-Series, Sony Music and Virgin Music are also its clients.

Facilities
Prime Focus has 4 studios in Mumbai at different locations across the city. It has set up studios in Hyderabad and Chennai to cater to the South Indian film industry. Prime Focus London was created in 2006 by the merger of VTR Pic, a high-end Dl and post production facility that is amongst the top five in UK and Clear Pic, a boutique visual effects services company. Prime Focus acquired a 55% stake in VTR Pic. The name VTR was changed to Prime Focus Pic. Prime Focus Pic acquired a 100% stake in Clear P|c to facilitate its entry in the international special effects and animation space.

High-end infrastructure
Prime Focus has high-end infrastructure and is in many cases the only company to possess such infrastructure. It was the first company to get the MILO Motion Control rig in India, which is also the only rig in Asia. It is the first and only Indian company with its own time slice rig for visual effects shots. Such high-end infrastructure improves its quality of work giving it an edge over its competitors.

High quality work
Prime Focus offers high quality of services, which is reflected by the awards won by the company. It won the FICCI Frames (BAFF) Award 2007 for the best visual effects in a television commercial. It had secured all the nominations in this category. The movie for which it had provided visual effects services won the best VFX Award at the Zee Cine Awards 2005.

As the company is venturing into international outsourcing, it faces increased competition from other outsourcing destinations such as Australia, NewZealand, Korea and China. Besides this, high margins enjoyed in the domestic business may not be sustainable due to the increasing competition. Its equipment are also subject to technological obsolence. However notwithstanding the risk factors, the size of the opportunity for the company is huge and we feel that the company is on a high growth trajectory.

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1 Responses to "Prime Focus: An overview"

R Sathyamurthy

Aug 7, 2010

Post this overview, I wonder why this stock missed your hidden treasure hit list when the stock was hovering around Rs.100 levels sometime in March 2009. Even with your conservative outlook you would have seen a five bagger, if not a ten bagger as it has turned out today.

This is especially intriguing since you had found this share good enough around its peak price of around Rs.1400/-.

This would have been a better pick from your analysts than Compact Discs.

Do you agree?

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