EuropaCorp reports higher annual profit

But revenue was nearly 13% below previous year's

PARIS -- French producer-distributor EuropaCorp is riding out the global economic slump, unveiling Thursday a higher profit for its 2008-09 fiscal year ended March 31 despite another decline in annual revenue.

Indeed, its revenue of €129 million ($179 million) was nearly 13% below the previous financial year as EuropaCorp. released just 10 films in France in 2008, compared with 12 the year before. Its original plans had called for 15 releases.

The group's profit rose 35%, though, to €9.4 million ($13.1 million).

The company came out in full force on the filmmaking front, with €146 million invested in production and acquisitions in the latest fiscal year, a 53% increase over the previous year, but it managed to reduce its cost of sales by 15%. It didn't detail any further cost comparisons.

EuropaCorp's French TV activity increased thanks to a bevy of sales from the EuropaCorp. and Roissy film catalog.

Its film productions have also seen increasing box office success in foreign territories with such titles as "Taken" ($218 million) and "Transporter 3" ($101 million). The group created an international marketing division this year and plans to build a $30 million French studio facility with Quinta Communications.

Upcoming releases include "Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard," "From Paris With Love" and "22 Bullets," which are all set for the back-half of the group's fiscal year. EuropaCorp. said it is continuing to develop an increasingly international lineup of films that can also play well outside of France and expand its activities in areas "complementary to the production and distribution of films."
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