Luc Besson's EuropaCorp Posts $25M Loss as Bailout Talks Continue

Luc Besson - Getty - H 2019
Dominique Charriau/WireImage

The company's debt stands at $182 million as Vine Alternative Investments still circles the troubled company.

Luc Besson's EuropaCorp, which is still in bailout talks with Vine Alternative Investments, posted another $25 million loss for the financial period that ended Sept. 30.

That follows a $99 million loss in the first half of the financial year announced in July, and an exceptional write-down of its film distribution arm in the U.S. Net debt stands at $182 million.

The beleaguered studio said talks with U.S investment fund Vine are still ongoing, after French film group Pathe dropped out of discussions.

Vine has been circling the Taken and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets producer to save it from bankruptcy after a string of commercial failures and the personal turmoil of Besson.

Besson's big action franchises — Taxi, Taken and Transporter — gave way to the box office disappointment of his $210 million sci-fi epic Valerian, which brought in just $225 million worldwide. His latest, Anna, seen as a return to form in the female-spy footsteps of the Scarlett Johansson-starrer Lucy, bombed at the box office, where it grossed just $7.5 million for Lionsgate in the U.S.

The company said the talks with Vine are hanging on provisions for EuropaCorp's studio Cite du Cinema north of Paris. Any bailout will “enable the group to continue its activity with a lightened debt structure.” 

New York-based Vine, which bought a controlling interest in Village Roadshow in 2017, is one of EuropaCorp's major creditors. The deal on the table would reportedly see Vine convert EuropaCorp’s debt into equity shares in the company. They have until May 13, 2020 to complete any discussions.

Besson has also been beset by personal problems after being accused of rape by actress Sand Van Roy in May of 2018. That case is undergoing judicial review after being dismissed by police, and the director took to TV to defend himself in October.

Sales were halved to $45.2 million, while were up to $14.6 million from $10.4 year-on-year. "This profit margin is mainly due to a high level of profit margin on the catalog's operation," explained the producer and distributor of cinematographic works and television series.

Cash flow slowed to a trickle of just $12 million, down from $40 million since the studio, which has not had a film in production since Anna, had no product to deliver. Its sole film was the French-language Little White Lies 2, which saw 2.8 million tickets sold in France. And given the ongoing restructuring, the was virtually no investment during the period.

Revenue on the TV side was down as well, at just $3.4 million trickling in from the last six episodes of the Taken series to NBC, which was completed in the first half of the year.

The company cited overhead costs down nearly 30 percent, reflecting the company-wide layoffs that have rolled out over the year and began last January.