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Category: Burns News
Article Date: July 15, 2004 | Publication: Birmingham Post | Author: Gary Smith

Posted by: admin

ContentFilm, the former Winchester Entertainment, has seen full year pre-tax losses widen following an pounds 8 million write-down on the value of the group's film library.

In the year to March, pretax losses came in at pounds 15.2 million against an pounds 11.2 million loss in the previous year. Turnover from continuing operations, including acquisitions, was pounds 1.8 million, down from pounds 4.8 million.

The firm posted a hit of pounds 1.2 million in exceptional costs arising from aspects of its reverse takeover of Winchester, which was formerly headed by Birmingham businessman Gary Smith who retains a three per cent stake.

The trading results were described as 'clearly disappointing' by the company with only the international film division close to breaking even.

The company said a number of new films were in production while negotiations were underway for various cash positive library assets and distribution businesses in the US and Europe.

Chairman Alton Irby said: 'The current year has begun as 2003-04 ended - as a year of activity.

'The successful refinancing of the group will enable us to pursue a number of significant film projects and to take advantage of any cash positive acquisitions of libraries and distribution businesses.

'These are expected to enhance the group's underlying business and strengthen our financial position over the next 12 months.'

He said the reshaping of the new group was progressing well and according to plan.

Its finances have been strengthened by a raising of pounds 8.3 million net of expenses through an equity share placing and the successful negotiation of a $ 20 million credit facility agreed with JP Morgan Chase.

Noting that Content was also looking to cut costs, Mr Irby added: 'These results represent a line drawn under the history of Winchester.'

The group's London offices have been merged in to one and Winchester's Los Angeles operation has been closed.

Job numbers have been reduced - Content now employs 39 staff against a previous 52 for Winchester and Content prior to the takeover.

The group will focus in the future on producing, coproducing, financing and distributing films with budgets between $ 15-40 million, in addition to a few special lower budget films.

In the course of the current year, it expects to release three main feature films including David Gordon Green's Under-tow; Wicked Prayer, the fourth instalment of the successful The Crow franchise that originally starred Brandon Lee in 1994; and, in partnership with Sunflower Productions, The Beau-tiful Country starring Nick Nolte and Tim Roth. The group is also to act as an international sales agent on Burns, the film biography of Scotland's national poet that will star Gerard Butler. It is due for release on Burns night 2006.

Mr Irby stated: 'There is a clear role for ContentFilm in the international film industry and our strategy is in place to ensure that it is a profitable one.'

There is no dividend payment.

Copyright 2004 Midland Independent Newspapers


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