Kluge slows flow of red ink for ’96

NEW YORK — The red ink continued to flow last year from John Kluge’s Metromedia Intl. Group Inc., but losses from the entertainment group — which owns Orion Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn and Motion Picture Corp. of America — shrank dramatically, the company said Thursday.

Metromedia cut its losses in fourth-quarter 1996 to $34.3 million, from $359.7 million a year earlier, on revenue that jumped from $25 million to $88.5 million. That brought Metromedia’s full year loss to $115.2 million, down from $412 million in 1995.

The company, which owns startup telecommunications ventures in Eastern Europe that appear to be responsible for most of the red ink, did not break out the fourth-quarter numbers between the entertainment or communications groups. For the year however, Metromedia said its entertainment group had operating losses of $4.4 million com-pared with $23.8 million for ’95.

The operating losses were after non-cash depreciation and amortization charges however, which totaled $5.5 mil-lion in 1996, indicating the entertainment group had positive cash flow of $1.1 million last year compared with a $23.2 million loss before the non-cash depreciation charges in 1995.

In contrast, the communications group lost $24.9 million in ’96, compared with $21.6 million in 1995.

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