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‘Tank Engine’ drives Gullane sales, profits

'Thomas' the merchandise bests low-grossing pic

LONDON — Gullane Entertainment, formerly known as the Britt Allcroft Co., has announced record interim results for the second half of 2000, with total sales for the period up 173% to £20.34 million ($29 million).

Pre-tax profits at the company best known for “Thomas the Tank Engine” were up 80% to $6.8 million, excluding revenues from the low-grossing “Thomas” feature film, in which the company had a limited investment.

“Thomas” brand merchandising and live entertainment fared better than the movie, which nevertheless fanned licensing sales. Nine “Day Out With Thomas” events in 2000 brought in revenue of $4.4 million for the U.S. railroads concerned. Gullane expects increased revenues in this area for 2002, benefiting from the construction of four new “Thomas” replica engines funded by railway preservation societies around the U.S.

The company’s recently acquired “Sooty” and “Art Attack” properties are also receiving a boost from new Children’s ITV commissions and product tie-ins in the U.K.

After its purchases of Media Merchants and David & Charles’ Children’s Books, now called Gullane Children’s Books, the company plans to continue to acquire assets that will enhance its rights portfolio and build its position as a family entertainment studio. Gullane has appointed Bear Stearns to be its financial adviser.

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