ER profit up, but cautious outlook remains

Pre-tax profit and revenues up in a challenging period, preliminary takeover talks with interested parties continuing.
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Entertainment Rights has announced its financial results for the year ended December 31st 2007.

Despite warning in January that it would miss expected sales and profits targets for the year (mainly due to distribution problems in the UK), revenue for the period increased by 129 per cent to £68.1 million, reflecting the successful integration of Classic Media.

Pre-tax profit increased by 45 per cent to £12.6 million (£8.7 million in 2006).

"Whilst the last six months of 2007 were challenging and the overall performance of the group was below original market expectations, this should not detract from the considerable achievements made during the year," said ER's chairman Rod Bransgrove.

"The acquisition of US-based Classic Media has greatly enhanced the company's presence in the world's largest media market and the integration of Classic Media has delivered the expected synergies.

"Importantly, the operational difficulties for the company encountered in the UK in the last quarter of 2007 with its exclusive UK distributor, Universal Pictures, for the manufacturing and supply of DVDs have now been resolved. The company continues to pursue appropriate remedies for the losses incurred as a result of UPUK's failure to supply the DVDs.

"The board remains cautious in its outlook as a result of the current economic environment. However, it expects the group to continue to build on the progress made during 2007."

Bransgrove also confirmed that the preliminary takeover talks with interested parties are continuing, although he stressed that "these discussions may or may not lead to an offer being made for the company".

ER has some major plans on the horizon for 2008. The brand relaunch of Postman Pat is underway, with a new series - Special Delivery Service - due to air on Cbeebies this autumn.

Product development is underway with master toy licensee Character Options, with the likes of track systems, locations, playsets and plush due to launch in January 2009. The toy launch will be supported by a major national TV ad drive.

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