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Nelvana earnings animated

Third-quarter up 14%

TORONTO — Animation producer Nelvana posted its eighth consecutive quarter of earnings growth in the third quarter.

Earnings for the nine months ended Sept. 30 were C$5.0 million ($3.4 million), or 46¢ per share, up 14% from the same time last year. Revenues for the period were $32.1 million, up a hefty 31% from the first nine months of 1998.

For the third quarter, net earnings were $1.8 million, or 24¢ per share, up 12% from the previous year. Revenues during the quarter were $15.2 million, up 12% from the nine-month figure posted a year ago.

New divisions help

The increase was, in part, a reflection of gains in the recently acquired merchandising and publishing divisions. Merchandising revenue for the third quarter increased 39% to $1.2 million; publishing contributed $2.5 million.

The company received an additional boost from its 20% interest in Teletoon, which contributed $680,000 to the year-to-date bottom line, and experienced moderate gains in production and distribution revenues despite delivering fewer animated episodes in the quarter (37) than a year ago (43).

Nelvana has also begun production of “Maggie and the Ferocious Beast,” its newest book-based series for Nickelodeon Jr. and Teletoon.

The series is based on the books created by author Betty Paraskevas and her son, artist/illustrator Michael. “Maggie” is expected to debut on Nick Jr. next summer and on Teletoon in the fall.

The company also announced series renewals for “Rolie Polie Olie,” “Franklin,” “Little Bear” and “George and Martha.”

Toronto-based Nelvana also has production facilities in L.A., London, Paris, Tokyo and Shannon, Ireland.