IM losses mount, liquidity 'dangerously low'

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COLOGNE, Germany -- IM Internationalmedia, the parent group of production house Intermedia, is teetering on the edge -- following a year of production upsets and major losses.

IM said Wednesday that its liquidity has reached a "dangerously low" level and that the company desperately needs to raise new capital if it is to avoid collapse.

Third-quarter figures showed IM booked a loss of 12.8 million euros ($18.7 million) for the first nine months of 2007, a figure that exactly matched the company's total revenue for the period.

For comparison, IM had booked revenue of 45.7 million euros and a loss of 3.7 million euros for the first nine months of 2006.

IM's flagship project this year -- Jan de Bont's actioner "Stopping Power" -- lived up to its title when production was suddenly shut down in the summer. The film's main backer pulled out of the John Cusack-starrer at the last minute, leaving IM with no film and a 7.9 million euro ($11.5 million) hole on its balance sheet.

Former IM head Martin Schurmann was blamed for the "Stopping Power" debacle and booted out of the company.

IM and Intermedia have fallen far from their peak of just a few years ago, when the company delivered such tentpole productions as "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" (2003) and "Alexander" (2004).

In contrast, IM/Intermedia had only one release this year -- Andrew O'Conner's low-budget British comedy "Magicians."

With little money coming in and the bulk of the group's capital reserved for future productions, it seems that IM has few options left.

New company CEO Konstantin Thoeren is trying to strip the group down to focus entirely on production and production services, leaving film financing, presales, distribution and other businesses to third-party operators.

Thoeren, a member of IM's supervisory board and a former producer with Germany's UFA International, was brought in as new co-head alongside Sascha Konzack last month (HR 10/19).

Thoeren said Wednesday that he has received "positive feedback" from potential investors, but declined to give any details.

"At the moment, several new productions are planned," the company said on its Web site. However, the only listed project is "One Missed Call," a remake of a film by Japanese horror master Takashi Miike, which the site indicated is "in production."

IM shares also have seen a continued decline. The stock Wednesday lost another 7.9% to 0.082 euros. Nearly a year ago, the shares also were sluggish, but hit a 52-week high 0.61 euros.

Georg Szalai in New York contributed to this report.
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