Company struggles to reduce debts

LONDON — Troubled U.K. tyke specialist Entertainment Rights has been dealt another blow after being fined £250,000 ($342,500) by the U.K. financial regulator for failing to disclose a $13.9 million fall in estimated profits.

The company, whose properties include “Postman Pat” and “The Lone Ranger,” sat on information concerning changes to a DVD distribution deal with Gold Key Home in the U.S. for more than two months.

“For markets to be clean, orderly and efficient, investors require all the necessary facts to make informed decisions,” said Financial Services Authority representative Sally Dewar.

“Listed companies must carefully assess what could be inside information and whether they need to disclose it. Putting off disclosure in the hope that future events may mitigate the impact is unacceptable.”

Entertainment Rights said it would not appeal against the decision. A bigger fine was avoided because the company qualified for a 30% discount because it paid the fine early.

The FSA also said it had taken into account that Entertainment Rights had strengthened its board, admitted the breaches and co-operated fully with the FSA’s investigation.

The irregularity happened before the arrival of Ed Knighton as finance director and Deborah Dugan being upped to CEO.

Dugan replaced Nick Phillips, who ankled after less than nine months after taking the job.

Entertainment Rights is attempting to reduce debts of $170 million following the implementation of a cost cutting program, which has seen a third of its 150 staff pinkslipped.

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