Senator Ent. searches for ways to survive

Distributor-producer needs new capital, and fast

BERLIN -- How long can you last with only 1 million euros in liquid assets when your yearly payroll is nearly three times that amount?

That's one of the questions facing Senator Entertainment, the German distributor-producer whose dismal financial report for the first half recently sent ripples through the local film and financial community.

After a string of expensive boxoffice disappointments, the company reported a 10 million euro ($14.6 million) net loss. With 39.5 million euros ($57.8 million) in debt due in 2008, the company needs new capital -- and quickly -- if it is to survive the year.

Senator CEO Helge Sasse said he is looking at liquidating assets and that talks with potential investors are in an advanced stage.

But even if Senator makes it to 2009, it faces the challenge of financing the P&A for the films left on its roster, among them "Public Enemy No. 1," "The Reader" and "The Brothers Bloom."

Sasse said Senator has put down money on all these films but acknowledged that the company could choose to go strategically in another direction -- an indication he might be prepared to drop some titles and cut his losses.