Chrysalis losses dip as TV sales climb

Ent/Music group posts $1.5 mil pre-tax loss, 14% sales increase

LONDON — Chrysalis, the entertainment and music group, has posted a pre-tax loss of £900,000 ($1.5 million) for the six months ending Feb. 28., down from a pre-exceptional loss of $2.8 million in the same period last year. Sales were up 14% to $97.6 million.

Although analysts expect group profitability no sooner than next year, Chrysalis Visual Entertainment, the television division, had a positive six months, with pre-tax profit up 459% to $3.3 million on sales of $45 million, up 25%.

The company’s greater emphasis on long-running series — such as the Aussie soap “Breakers,” which has been sold to 18 markets, including Britain — was cited as one reason for the big boost in TV profitability.

Chrysalis’ music interests, however, saw sales down to $19.7 million from $26.9 million. The Echo record label — home to the band Babybird, which had hit songs in Britain in the first half of 1997 — posted a loss of $2.8 million.

Chrysalis chairman Chris Wright, who owns 32% of the group, said that Echo’s releases were geared to the second half of the year and that he expected to have a successful new album from Babybird. He also had high hopes for upcoming acts such as Moloko and Iceland’s Lhooj.

Wright also pointed to Chrysalis’ investment in signing songwriters to its music publishing division as an expense that impacted the results. The company now has 200 active songwriters on its roster.