Adlabs reports record losses

Company's Big Cinemas division doubles revenue

NEW DELHI -- The costs of simultaneous expansion across many fronts pushed Adlabs Films -- the theatrical, production, film facilities and radio division of Reliance Big Entertainment -- into the red last year.

For the year to March the company recorded losses of $11 million compared to profits of $10 million the previous year.

Adlabs said its revenues were up 57% at $143 million over the previous year while EBITDA from operations was higher by 18% at $15 million.

Reliance Big Entertainment recently concluded a $350 million co-financing agreement to fund DreamWorks' exit from Paramount.

The losses were caused "primarily on account of expenses related to scaling up, expansion and stabilization of various businesses and substantial interest financing charges," Adlabs said in a statement.

The company's theatrical division and India's largest multiplex chain, branded as Big Cinemas, saw its revenues double to $74 million. The unit, which operates 201 screens in 60 Indian cities, claims to account for 11%-15% of total box office revenues in India and 25%-35% of box office receipts for large Hindi films in the U.S. In total the company operates 428 screens across India, the U.S., Malaysia and Mauritius.

Film production and distribution division Big Pictures recorded revenues of $46 million compared to $30 million last year.

Film and media services -- which includes divisions such as Adlabs Motion Picture Processing and Adlabs Digital Cinema -- saw its revenues grow by 51% to $29 million.

Adlabs also runs TV production house Big Synergy, which recorded revenue growth of 38% at $9 million. Big Synergy is currently producing "India's Got Talent" for Viacom18-owned Hindi entertainment channel Colors.

"We are convinced of the strong values of our businesses and have made strategic investments in FY08-09 to become the leading service provider across the complete value chain. These investments would contribute substantially to our bottom line in the next financial year," Adlabs Films CEO Anil Arjun said.

Meanwhile, Big Pictures is boosting its release schedule for the next 18 months with 18 titles across seven languages. The slate will use the company's existing Indian and overseas distribution operations, while also tapping new markets such as Spain, Japan and Holland.

Among the titles is the upcoming "Do Knot Disturb," from hit comedy director David Dhawan and top comedian Govinda, and "Kites," starring top actor Hrithik Roshan and Mexican actress Barbara Mori which will release in the winter.
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