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Eros loves to acquire pics

Listing fuels spending spree

HONG KONG — Financial strength that came with listing of its shares on the London Stock Exchange a year ago allowed Bollywood major Eros Intl. to go on a $109 million rights acquisition spending spree.

Announcing its first full year financial statement since floating on London’s Alternative Investment Market in July last year Eros enjoyed revenue up by half at $66.4 million. After tax profits were $28.3 million in the financial year to end March 2007.

Company chairman and CEO Kishore Lulla said that the company had boosted its library and signed up 50 films and film projects for release over the next 24 months.

According to its financial report, Eros spent $55.2 million on new film and music rights in addition to the $17.4 million it spent locking up existing rights acquired as part of the corporate reorganization at flotation. During the trading year it committed a further $33.3 million on rights to projects in hand at third party producers and some $3.4 million on other productions to be completed in 2007 and 2008.

Lulla said the company is at an “inflection point.” He said Eros had achieved the goals set out at the time of its flotation and will now build itself as a vertically-integrated global player through organic growth, acquisitions and alliances.

It signed TV distribution deals with Sony Entertainment Television, B4U and Zee, while on the new media front it scored “exploitation deals” with Comcast, YouTube, Microsoft Online Spotlight, Intel Viiv, Mauj Telecom and OnCommand. Having been a largely international distributor, Eros also launched a domestic Indian distribution capacity and released five movies in India.

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