Entertainment One full-year loss widens

Pretax loss grows to $51.1 mil for year to March 31

TORONTO -- A slumping U.S. music market and one-time charges led Canadian producer Entertainment One on Wednesday to post a sharply wider full-year pretax loss.

Jersey, Channel Islands-based Entertainment One, whose top executives are in Toronto and Los Angeles, posted a pre-tax loss of $51.1 million for the year to March 31, against a pre-tax loss of $12.5 million for 2008.

Full-year revenue jumped 30% to $566.2 million, against a year-earlier $436.3 million, after a string of acquisitions to launch Entertainment One into filmed entertainment with an expanding pipeline of movie and TV content.

The group's wholesale distribution business for CDs, DVDs and video games saw overall revenue fall 7.6% to $350 million, against a year-earlier $379.3 million, amid "challenging U.S. market conditions."

The U.S. music business in particular, which continues in decline during the transition to digital formats, forced Entertainment One to record a non-cash impairment charge of $36 million after the division was restructured.

Film distribution revenue rose 123% to $195.5 million, against $87.6 million in 2008. Entertainment One released 110 titles, including the teen vampire movie "Twilight" as part of a supply deal with Summit Entertainment.

Entertainment One's TV division saw revenue slip 4.7% to $38 million due to fewer deliveries. The producer plans to invest $132.5 million in TV production over the coming year after it sold two Canadian cop dramas to U.S. networks, with "The Bridge" going to CBS and "Copper" to ABC.

The producer's TV slate also includes HBO's "Hung," Comedy Central's "Kenny vs. Spenny" and Tru TV's "'Til Death Do Us Part."

"The group is well positioned for further growth following the increased investment in content during the year," company CEO Darren Throop said.

Entertainment One, whose shares are listed on London's AIM exchange, has film distribution operations in Canada, Britain and Benelux.
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