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Cost-cutting animates Film Roman’s numbers

Revs dropped 8% to $44.6 mil as new investor moves in

Animation house Film Roman, soon to relinquish majority control to a strategic investor in India, said Monday it narrowed red ink for the year and the final quarter thanks to various cost-cutting moves.

The North Hollywood-based company, best known for its animation work on Fox’s “The Simpsons,” narrowed its annual loss to $2.6 million from year-earlier red ink of $7.5 million. Film Roman slashed overhead at the end of 1999 by restructuring operations and cutting department budgets in various areas, a spokesman said.

Indian investor

Annual revenue dropped 8% to $44.6 million. But Film Roman CEO John Hyde said the company will be able to increase the number of projects it produces in 2001 after closing “in the next few weeks” on an investment by India-based animator Pentamedia.

Pentamedia agreed in October to take a $15 million equity investment in Film Roman. At the time, that translated into a 51% stake in the company, but Film Roman’s share price has slipped since then and the investment now delivers a 60% interest in the U.S. animator.

“The alliance will create a global production ability enhancing the position of both companies in the marketplace,” Film Roman said of the pending transaction.

In the fourth quarter, Film Roman reported a loss of $300,000. That was down from red ink of $4.7 million in the same period of 1999.

Quarterly revenue rose 8% to $18.9 million.

Film Roman shares closed unchanged Monday at 78¢.

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