4Q hike for Movie Distribution

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TORONTO -- Canadian independent distributor Movie Distribution Income Fund on Wednesday (Feb. 21) posted higher fourth quarter earnings after stronger Canadian DVD sales offset a weaker theatrical release slate here.

Toronto-based Movie Distribution saw earnings for the three months to Dec. 31 rise to CAN$18 million ($15.5 million), compared to earnings of CAN$14.1 million in 2005.

The Canadian distributor was helped by CAN$2.9 million ($2.5 million) in foreign exchange gains during the latest quarter, against a year-earlier loss of CAN$0.9 million.

Fourth quarter revenues were up 21% to $138.3 million ($119.2 million), from CAN$114.3 million in 2005. Library revenues rose to CAN$37.2 million ($32 million), compared to CAN$27.1 million in 2005.

Canadian revenues rose 31% to CAN$86.1 million ($74 million), from a year-earlier CAN$65.5 million as higher DVD sales offset weaker theatrical performance.

British revenues were CAN$36.6 million ($31.5 million), just up from CAN$35.9 million in 2005, while Spanish revenues rose 21% to CAN$15.6 million ($13.4 million).

Xavier Marchand, managing director of Momentum/Aurum, the British and Spanish arms, was last month suspended pending a review of the Canadian distributor's European operations.

Movie Distribution Income Fund holds a minority 49% stake in Motion Picture Distribution LP. The remaining 51% stake was last month bought from Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. by Goldman Sachs and an un-named Canadian partner.

That purchase came as part of a bigger pending deal for Alliance Atlantis Communications by Goldman Sachs and Canwest Global Communications Corp.
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