As embattled Canadian childrens producer/distributor CINAR Corp. continues to work with the Quebec Securities Commission to have CINAR shares re-listed on the stock exchange, the company has signed 12 confidentiality/ standstill agreements with parties interested in taking part or all of the company. A CINAR statement said, Any major developments in this regard will be communicated to shareholders, regulatory authorities and the public as appropriate.
CINAR management tried to sell the company in 2001 but those efforts failed. The dozen suitors may find the timing better and the purchase price lower since the company has brought in new management, regained its possible funding status with the Canadian Television Fund - License Fee Program (CTF - LFP) and reported a loss for the second quarter ended May 31, 2003.
On a consolidated basis, the company reported a net loss of $4.7 million compared to a net income of $5.7 million in the second quarter of 2002 and operating earnings of $2.8 million compared to $4.8 million a year ago.
"CINAR's situation has been stabilized," says CINAR president/ceo Stuart Snyder, "and the conditions appropriate for the creation of shareholder value have been re-established. While Entertainment sales were impacted by reduced production investments in recent years, the division continues to be profitable on an operating basis. We are leveraging important revenue and profit opportunities for the future by introducing new programming and identifying expansion opportunities for existing brands.
An example of this is CINARs new half-hour spin-off television series based on Buster, a popular character from the Emmy award winning-series, ARTHUR. POSTCARDS FROM BUSTER will promote literacy and multicultural understanding among school age children. The new series, produced in partnership with WGBH Boston, Marc Brown Studios and PBS, blends animation with live action footage, and will premiere on PBS KIDS in fall 2004.
"This production and distribution venture is an important step in transforming CINAR into a fully integrated entertainment and education leader," said Snyder at the time of the announcement (May 29, 2003). "By participating as an equity partner and retaining the video and educational distribution rights, CINAR is leveraging important revenue and profit opportunities. The program also demonstrates the company's commitment to expanding its market reach beyond pre-school to provide high-quality programming to school age children and this new series focuses precisely on that niche."
With the conclusion of the CTF-LFP agreement, CINAR reached a major milestone in reintegrating itself into the full range of public and private funding support programs in the Canadian television production industry. For more information on CINAR, go to www.cinar.com.