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Cinar Restructures, Cuts Staff

Scandal-plagued children's television producer Cinar Corp. has laid off staff and appointed new auditors in an attempt to restructure its entertainment and corporate divisions. Under the restructuring, Cinar's Montreal staff has been reduced from 164 to 110. While most of the layoffs were corporate positions, 22 employees were cut in Cinar's studios and animation department. The restructuring is the latest of several administrative steps taken during the past 20 months by Cinar's current management to put the company on solid footing once again. 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. Cinar has appointed Richter, Usher & Vineberg as auditors to move forward with its stated priority of providing audited financial statements. After being delisted from the Nasdaq in 2000, Cinar was then delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange in August 2001 after failing to present audited financial results in time. The company continues to search for a buyer, after talks earlier this month, reportedly with Gullane Entertainment, fell through.