Bac Majestic back in business

French outfit returns after brush with bankruptcy

PARIS — Four years after a brush with bankruptcy, Jean Labadie’s revived Gallic distribution outfit Bac Majestic is on the offensive again.

Company is in the throes of a 6.5 million euros ($8.5 million) capital increase to finance its future development, including as-yet-unspecified expansion into VOD and broadband distribution.

Would-be investors have until Feb. 26 to take up Bac Majestic’s offer of 11.84 million new shares, repping 28.6% of the company’s capital, at 72¢ a share, compared with the company’s Feb. 7 market quoted price of $1.44.

On Friday, the company posted a 25% hike in 2006 revenues to $27.5 million.

Total included $12.2 million from theatrical, $5.8 million from video, $3.9 million from TV sales and $3 million from international sales.

Company confirmed previously forecast 10% profit margins, making 2006 the second full year in the black for the restructured group.

In order to get there, Labadie, the one-time French distribution partner of Miramax and Studio Canal, had to substantially downsize, selling his chain of Paris movie theaters and reverting to a scaled-back distribution-only company, with Gallic toon house Millimages as majority shareholder.

Labadie, who owns 20% of the company, along with Millimages, which now holds 22%, and a group of institutional investors have guaranteed to cover 75% of the capital increase, as required by the French stock market regulator.

Encouragingly for Bac, operation comes at a time when French cinema is doing well at the box office.

Gallic industryites say the big test for market confidence in French cinema will be the previously postponed listing of Luc Besson’s Europacorp. No date has been announced, but media watchers believe this could be the year.

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