Orion emerges from Chapter 11

Orion Pictures’ star has finally risen from bankruptcy.

Eleven months after it sought protection from its creditors in U.S. Bankruptcy Court here, the embattled Orion has emerged from Chapter 11 as a library sales operation and distributor.

Under terms of its reorganization plan confirmed Oct. 20, Orion may not provide new production financing but will distribute films made with outside cash.

On the same day interim president Leonard White charted the company’s new course, Orion released its first- and second-quarter results for fiscal 1993.

For the second quarter ended Aug. 31, Orion slashed its net losses by 75% to $ 11.43 million (or 51 cents a share) from $ 48.07 million ($ 2.14 a share). Revenues from continued operations, however, tumbled 74% to $ 35.1 million from $ 133.78 million.

For the first quarter ended May 31, net losses fell 57% to $ 10.73 million ( 48 cents) from $ 24.81 million ($ 1.07). Revenue fell 53% to $ 80.8 million from $ 172.1 million.

For the six-month period, net losses were cut nearly 70% to $ 22.2 million ( 99 cents) from $ 72.9 million ($ 3.20). Revenue fell 62% to $ 115.9 million from $ 305.9 million.

The per-share amounts noted above are based on Orion’s common stock outstanding before the reorganization plan went into effect. Holders of old Orion common and preferred shares will receive 0.8% and 0.1% new Orion common shares, respectively.

White said the company is in active discussions with a half-dozen interests about putting up capital to produce new films Orion would distribute.

He said 40 to 50 projects are in various stages of development for which he hopes to find funding. He believes producers will be attracted to the Orion name and reputation and insists the company will be in shape to give their projects full attention.

“We don’t have dozens of projects vying for our attention,” said White. “We can focus on their product and aggressively distribute it in the market.”

Orion will distribute its 10 unreleased films next year, with the first, the Michelle Pfeiffer starrer “Love Field,” to launch in late January.

Aside from its distribution plans, the new Orion will pursue ways to exploit its 750-title library.

White noted the company’s annual overhead will average about $ 14 million–a drastic reduction from the former Orion’s overload of $ 80 million.

Within the next 45 days, White hopes to hire up to 60 fulltime employees to bring the company’s workforce up to 160.

By year’s end, Orion will have shutdown its New York operation and move the surviving operation to the West Coast. All that will remain in Gotham is the international division.