Splendid cuts losses through pic pullout

New accounting policies force some changes

BERLIN — German entertainment group Splendid Medien slashed net losses by 98% from 2002’s E59.6 million ($67.4 million) to $1.67 million in 2003 while revenues dropped 2% to $40.3 million.

The huge disparity between net loss figures reflects massive writedown the Cologne-based company was forced to make on its film titles in 2002 following adoption of U.S.-GAAP accounting principles.

Indeed, Splendid’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (writedowns) show a modest increase to $13 million from the previous year’s $11.3 million.

Splendid dumped its 80% stake in failing U.S. subsid Splendid Pictures last year after deciding financing and selling U.S. productions was simply too costly.

The lion’s share of revenue came from Splendid Medien’s licensing business, which accounted for 53% of total sales. The home entertainment division followed with a 41% share, while the post-production unit made up nearly 6%.

Group reported a 71% increase in liquid funds to $7.75 million, which helped cut short-term debt by 40% to $12.65 million. Splendid said it expected an improvement in its 2004 results.

Upcoming Splendid pics include “Mambo Italiano” and French comedy “Ruby & Quentin,” both due out in Germany this summer.

Splendid shares closed at $1.48 Monday, up 2.5%.

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