Entertainment Rights' profits jump 35%

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LONDON -- U.K.-based kids programming group Entertainment Rights, which in January acquired "Casper the Friendly Ghost" owner Classic Media for $210 million, on Tuesday unveiled a 35% hike in pretax profits of £8.7 million ($17.1 million), from £6.4 million a year ago.

Revenue for the 12 months through Dec. 31 were down 3% at £29.7 million ($58.3 million), but its cashflow measure of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortizations grew 11% to £14.8 million ($29 million). Quarterly figures were not supplied.

Entertainment Rights said it also had signed a carriage deal with kids network qubo -- partly owned by Classic Media -- to broadcast "Postman Pat" in the U.S. beginning in October.

Entertainment Rights, which owns such U.K.-originated characters as "Basil Brush" and "Rupert Bear" has made U.S. expansion a priority through the acquisition of Classic Media, which did not feature in this set of results.

Chairman Rod Bransgrove told the London Stock Exchange that North America remains a key target.

"We are particularly excited by the acquisition of Classic Media, which enhances our brand portfolio and strengthens our presence in the U.S., the world's largest media market," Bransgrove said. "We are committed to continued expansion and anticipate significant progress in the coming year."
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