Cinar Repays Debt
Canadian family entertainment company CINAR Corporation has recently repaid an existing bank loan which was due on October 15, 2001. The corporation had US$26 million outstanding as of November 30, 2000 and this amount has now been repaid in the current fiscal year. Since late 1999, CINAR has been racked with problems and lawsuits regarding illegally obtained Canadian tax credits, non-approved investments in offshore accounts and the misappropriation of funds by senior executives, including founders Micheline Charest and Ronald Weinberg, who were fired in August 2000 and subsequently sued by Cinar. The company continues its search for a potential buyer with the assistance of its financial advisors Merrill Lynch. Meanwhile, CINAR is still working on its productions. SIMON IN THE LAND OF CHALK DRAWINGS, produced in association with Shanghai Animation Film Studio, was launched at MIPCOM. The series is based on books written and illustrated by Ed McLachlan, and will begin airing on TeleTOON in Canada in fall 2002. Another of CINARs animated series, LITTLE LULU SHOW will begin broadcasting on Cartoon Network Japan in December 2001. This is the first deal between CINAR and Cartoon Network Japan. The network has made an initial commitment to air 26 episodes, which will be broadcast daily. BBC and Nickelodeon in the UK, ZDF in Germany, Mediaset in Italy, HMG in Benelux and YTV and SRC in Canada have pre-purchased 26 new half-hour episodes of the animated series MONA THE VAMPIRE. Half of the new shows will be delivered during fall 2001 and the remaining 13 in spring 2002. In addition, a line of toys and games based on Cinars series CAILLOU successfully debuted at FAO Schwarz stores across the U.S.