Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp has posted a 50% drop in revenues during the first half of the 2019-20 financial year even as the financially ailing company tries to finalize a rescue deal with its junior lender, Vine Alternative Investments.
EuropaCorp’s revenues fell to €40.7 million ($45 million) during the six months ending Sept. 30. The company said the same period in the previous year had performed better because of “significant revenues from TV series,” notably the “delivery of the last episodes of the second season of “Taken,” as well as “revenues from line production and co-production.”
EuropaCorp’s net debt, meanwhile, stood at €164 million ($182 million), compared with €221 million ($245 million) during the same period last year.
The company was granted a six-month debt waiver in May from a French commercial court to give it time to find a white knight. The waiver was extended in October for another six months as EuropaCorp closes in on a deal with its junior lender, Vine Alternative Investments, to convert debt into equity shares.
EuropaCorp said discussions with lenders are not only focusing on restructuring its debt, but also sorting out the fate of the Cité du Cinéma, the group’s headquarters and studios near Paris, and its costly rent. The waiver extension which was granted to EuropaCorp by the commercial court “will allow the company to continue the discussions with the various stakeholders in order to finalize a safeguard plan enabling the group to continue its activity with a lightened debt structure,” EuropaCorp said in a release.
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Vine is no stranger to the film industry. It has owned a controlling interest in Village Roadshow since 2017. The pact between EuropaCorp and Vine is expected to be finalized and announced early next year.
EuropaCorp had previously started talks with the French major Pathé, but those discussions stalled. The two companies still have a deal in place for Pathé to distribute all of EuropaCorp’s films in France.
But the banner hasn’t had a film production in more than a year. Besson’s latest film, “Anna,” grossed about $31 million worldwide, including just $7.7 million in the U.S. His previous directorial effort, the $180 million “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” grossed $225.8 million worldwide.
EuropaCorp’s biggest asset remains its library, which includes successful franchises such as “Taken,” “Taxi” and “Transporter.”