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Constantin sees big quarterly gain

Co. sees boost due to TV sales of 'Resident Evil'

COLOGNE — Constantin Film, Germany’s biggest producer-distrib, posted a 154% boost in first-quarter sales to E60.6 million ($73.3 million) and saw net profits rise $1.7 million to $2.2 million.

Company attributed its strong boost to terrestrial TV sales of its hit “Resident Evil” and to the consolidation of its new TV format division Constantin Entertainment, formerly known as Kirch Media Entertainment.

Constantin acquired KME last year to expand into TV. Company was set up at the now defunct Kirch Media by former Kirch exec Fred Kogel, who last year became CEO at Constantin and later brought KME into the fold. Constantin Entertainment develops and produces a number of formats, including RTL 2’s “Wife Swap” clone “Frauentausch.”

Its first-quarter performance was good news for the company, which posted a $12 million loss for the full year 2003.

Company recorded first-quarter increases in all major business divisions, including $10.7 million from theatrical distribution, $5.6 million from video sales, $24.2 million from TV licensing and $27.6 million from service productions, up from $5.2 million last year.

Constantin is anticipating a sales increase of 55% this year and a pre-tax profit of $7.2 million, sparked by integration of TV entertainment, increased inhouse production and joint exploitation of DVD/video operations with its new majority stakeholder Highlight Communications.

Heading the home entertainment unit will be new executive board member Franz Woodtli, who transferred from Highlight.