Italy's RAI Cinema Could Mull IPO, Officials Say

RAI Cinema said it will closely watch the performance of the much-smaller Notorious Pictures, which announced IPO plans last week.

ROME -- Sparked by Notorious Pictures' decision to file for an initial public offering on Milan's Italian Stock Exchange, RAI Cinema -- the film branch of Italian state broadcaster RAI -- said it could mull a similar move in the future.

The turn-around plan at RAI, the parent company, is ahead of schedule, with the company turning a small profit in 2013, about a year ahead of schedule. An IPO for RAI Cinema could help raise enough capital to give it new flexibility in its production plan.

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Though the details of a possible RAI Cinema IPO are still very sketchy, such a move would be huge: RAI Cinema, which includes 01 Distribution, is valued at more than $280 million (€200 million) according to RAI's full 2012 annual report, the latest full report available.

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That dwarfs the value of Notorious Pictures, which voted last week to float shares for the first time. In 2013, Notorious Pictures had a profit of $1.8 million (€1.3 million) on revenues of $12.6 million (€9.0 million). Notorious Pictures is a producer and distributor most recently associated with animated children's film The Nut Job, set to be released in Italy May 1, as well as Atom Egoyan's Devil's Knot, which will go into wide release in Italy a week later.

Twitter: @EricJLyman