Revenue down, margins up for Europacorp

Financial growth attributed to video sales

PARIS -- French production and distribution powerhouse Europacorp on Wednesday unveiled a 2007-08 annual operating margin of 28.8 million euros ($44.7 million), a 6.7% jump from the year before.

Despite a dip in revenue to 147.1 million euros ($228.4 million), Europacorp's operating margin remained strong, representing 19.6% of total revenue compared with 17% the year before.

Luc Besson's rapidly expanding company attributes its financial growth to strong video sales totaling 28.2 million euros ($43.8 million), or 19.2% of the group's total revenue, thanks to the popularity of such titles as "Arthur and the Minimoys," "Taxi 4" and "Tell No One."

Partnership and licensing agreements with major brands including BNP Paribas and Audi in addition to catalog sales also contributed to the jump in profits. Europacorp increased its production and acquisition budget by 90% to 95.6 million euros ($148.4 million), compared with just 50.5 million euros ($78.4 million) over the previous financial year.

The group will release 15 films during the 2008-09 financial year and has high hopes for action franchise "Transporter 3" on the international market in addition to English-language productions "I Love You Philip Morris" starring Ewan McGregor and Jim Carrey and "Staten Island" with Ethan Hawke among its predominately French-language slate.