Loonland staggers after double blow

Results delayed; two board members resign

BERLIN — Two months after revealing a massive 2006 loss, animation producer-distrib TV-Loonland suffered another blow on Thursday after announcing that it was postponing publication of its 2006 figures and this year’s first-quarter results due to ongoing restructuring. Company also reported the resignation of two supervisory board members.

The news triggered a dramatic 27% drop in company’s share price to Euros 0.91.

A TV-Loonland spokesman said the company could not post its annual accounts for 2006 nor its first-quarter figures as planned due to its ongoing restructuring process, adding that auditors had not yet approved the financial reports for publication.

In addition, it said supervisory board members Thomas Mayrhofer and Michael Bischoff were stepping down due to personal reasons.

Company execs, meanwhile, have signaled that a sale of the group is likely and have confirmed that negotiations are underway with interested but unidentified investors and a bank consortium.

TV Loonland boasts a sizeable programming library and handles international rights to well-known titles such as “G.I. Joe,” “Transformers,” “Clifford” and “Pettson and Findus.”

TV Loonland’s situation grew dire in March after announcing its 2006 figures would include “a loss of more than half of the issued capital.” Due to severe writedowns, TV-Loonland’s Euros 20 million ($27 million) loss the previous year, in 2005, was much higher than its total revenue of $16 million. An executive shuffle followed, with Simon Flamank taking the reins, replacing former topper Selma Kaeppel.

TV-Loonland’s troubles have crystallized in a market currently satiated with children and youth programming — a situation that has also affected other toon hawkers such as EM.TV, which looks eager to sell its family entertainment subsidiaries to concentrate on sports rights.

TV-Loonland has also been entangled in a legal battle with Kaeppel, its former CEO, who the company took to court last year for alleged betrayal of confidence in connection to financial irregularities. Kaeppel, who was sacked last year, had replaced TV-Loonland founder and CEO Peter Voelke, who resigned in 2005 amid a probe by the Munich district attorney’s office into alleged tax evasion.

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