Leading French rights company UGC DA predicted this week that it will post 1993 profits comparable to the 30 million francs ($ 5.3 million) achieved in 1992.
But UGC DA general manager Alain Sussfeld told a shareholders meeting in Paris this week that the company is still trying to recover 100 million francs ( $ 17.5 million) from former partner Cyril de Rouvre.
The outstanding sum, which is now the subject of court proceedings, dates from June 1992 when UGC DA bought out partner and fellow TV rights holder Financiere Robur — a subsidiary of the Rouvre group.
UGC DA exex discovered that Financiere Robur’s books were carrying a 200 million francs ($ 35 million) loan to another Rouvre holding company Cofragec. “This was not part of the deal and we called on Cyril de Rouvre to repay the sum by Dec. 31, 1992,” UGC president Guy Verrecchia told Daily Variety Thursday.
As the year ended, UGC DA had recovered half the loan and is now seeking the other half, which is partly guaranteed by Rouvre and his wife. UGC DA has seized goods with an estimated value of 40 million francs ($ 7 million).
The Rouvre case notwithstanding, Sussfeld told shareholders that there is reason to be cautiously optimistic over the prospects for UGC DA, which is sitting on a catalog of 1,800 features and some 900 hours of TV series.
Sussfeld said that the decision by the Culture minister Jacques Toubon to allow networks to screen an extra 52 films per year would have a positive effect on results. He added that the development of high-brow cultural web Arte had opened up a market for films that had been lying dormant in the catalog.
Estimates are that UGC DA will this year generate revenues from sales to TV networks of around 250 million francs ($ 43.8 million), one-third of which will come from outside France.