Internationalmedia back in the black

Cost-cutting allows co. to post $1.31 mil in net profit

BERLIN — Extensive cost-cutting and box office revenues from pics including “National Security” helped propel German-based production and finance group Internationalmedia back into the black in the first quarter after straight net quarterly losses last year.

Company, which owns Intermedia and IEG, posted a 1.14 million euros ($1.31 million) net profit in the first three months of 2003 compared with a $6.5 million loss in the same period last year.

“This reflects, in part, the benefit of last year’s extensive cost-cutting program, which lowered general administration and distribution costs by approximately 50%,” the company said. Income from the theatrical releases of “The Life of David Gale,” “Dark Blue” and “Basic” also contributed to the upswing.

Sales increased $15.9 million to $93 million, a 21% increase from the same period last year. Company’s credit balance was reduced by $49 million from the fourth quarter of last year to $205 million.

Pre-production slashes cash

Investment in the pre-production of upcoming pics, including Oliver Stone’s “Alexander”; Bruce Willis starrer “Me Again”; “Laws of Attraction,” toplining Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore; and Martin Scorsese’s “Aviator,” decreased Internationalmedia’s cash position by $40 million to $25 million, but this will increase when the films start production.

Company is gearing up for the release of “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” this summer. Other upcoming releases include crime thriller “Mindhunters” with Val Kilmer.

Execs are expecting an operating profit for the year, with revenues of around $340 million. Internationalmedia saw losses of $122 million in 2002, due to one-time write-offs related to acquisitions and revenues of around $300 million.

Company shares rose 3% to $1.59 early Wednesday before settling at $1.38 at the day’s close.

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