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‘SUNSET’ SULLIES LIVENT QTR.

TORONTO — Theater producer Livent Inc. saw its fourth-quarter profit whittled down by costs related to its Toronto production of “Sunset Boulevard,” but industry analysts are counting on a better performance this year.

Toronto-based Livent said Wednesday that profit for the three months ended Dec. 31 fell to C$2.7 million ($1.96 million) from C$4.3 million ($3.1 million) a year earlier. It blamed the decline mainly on higher amortization of pre-production costs associated with “Sunset Boulevard.” Pre-production costs soared to $14.7 million in the latest period from $5.4 million in the fourth quarter of 1995.

Revenue for the three-month period rose to $68.7 million from $56 million a year earlier.

For the full year, profit slipped to $8.1 million on revenue of $240.8 million from $8.6 million on $211.3 million.

Analysts expect improved results in 1997 largely because Livent has more on the boards. Three touring companies of “Show Boat” are scheduled to play 17 cities in North America, compared with five last year. “Ragtime” opened in Toronto in November, a second company opens in Los Angeles in May, and it inaugurates Livent’s new Broadway theater in December.

On Broadway, Livent’s production of “Barrymore” opens this month and “Candide” opens in late April.

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