Cinar tries to resuscitate ailing stock

Company produces kids hits 'Arthur' and 'Caillou'

MONTREAL — Cinar, the Canadian kids TV producer plagued by financial scandals for the past three years, wants its stock to start moving again.

The Montreal-based company is seeking to have a cease-trade order on its shares lifted by the Quebec Securities Commission and is applying to have its stock relisted on the Toronto exchange.

Cinar — which produces the kids hits “Arthur” and “Caillou” — announced that revenues last year grew 6.4% to C$141 million ($96 million).

Its net earnings improved dramatically, with a net loss of $4.4 million, compared with a loss of $29 million a year earlier. A major factor contributing to this year’s loss was $16 million spent to settle various class-action suits.

Former co-CEOs Ronald Weinberg and Micheline Charest were ousted three years ago after allegations of tax-credit fraud. Some $122 million also had been invested in risky offshore investments without board approval.

“Cinar’s positive financial situation is nothing short of remarkable for a company operating in the present context of the entertainment industry,” said chairman Robert Despres at an annual meeting in Montreal on Wednesday.

CEO Stuart Snyder said the company would begin making live-action family feature films targeted for the DVD and TV markets. He also said Cinar was looking for strategic acquisition opportunities.

Matt Mazer has been named prexy of Cinar’s new live entertainment division.

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