HOT Animation hits goal
HIT Entertainment, the London-based producer and distributor of children’s programming, on Tuesday reported record earnings, up 46% for the period ended July 31.The company also said it had reached its targeted goal of raising $25 million to accelerate production of U.K. animation, through its HOT Animation division. “To achieve this fundraising during this time of economic uncertainty demonstrates the tremendous support we have from our shareholders who recognize we are a company with an excellent record and growth potential,” said CEO Peter Orton. HIT said it earned 2.3 million pounds, or 10.3 pence a share, before taxes ($3.8 million) for the period from sales of HIT-owned programming to U.S. networks — 10 properties, including a natural history programming package to National Geographic Channels — and HIT’s video label launched in 1997, skedded to release 12 titles by the end of 1998. A year earlier, the company earned roughly $1 million for seven months ended Dec. 31, due to a change-of-year auditing period. HIT recently established a consumer products division and has invested to acquire a 40% stake of children’s publisher Ludgate 151 Ltd. to create HIT Publishing. Both divisions are expected to distribute product among retailers toward the end of 1999.