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Kinowelt touts health

German bank refutes report that company is struggling

LONDON — German bank Hypo-Vereinsbank has refuted a controversial report in weekly mag Stern that quoted a manager as saying it was doubtful about struggling indie giant Kinowelt Medien’s chances of survival.

The quote from the bank’s business accounts manager, Dieter Rampl, was part of a Stern article alleging that Kinowelt’s streamlining effort was on the verge of collapse. The report also suggested that co-toppers Rainer and Michael Koelmel might leave the company.

A Kinowelt spokesperson denied financial problems and said it was in advanced negotiations with banks and satisfied with the results.

Kinowelt transformed itself from an arthouse distrib into an entertainment conglom after floating on the Nasdaq-like Neuer Markt in 1998, but its total market cap has collapsed to $38 million. Share prices have fallen from a peak of $73 to $1.66.

After issuing revised figures earlier this year, Kinowelt is revamping and streamlining divisions, and merging distribution entities. It is looking into taking a partner into the core company as well as into its exhibition businesses.

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