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Imagi Still Plagued by Financial Concerns

Hong Kong- and Los Angeles-based animation studio Imagi International is still experiencing financial problems, reports VARIETY ASIA (via Cartoon Brew).

Auditors gave the company a "going concern" qualification to the half-year results of the firm, which is currently in production on CG feature ASTRO BOY and who animated TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES for Warner Bros. and Weinstein Co. last year.

Financing for ASTRO BOY appears to be in place, but the audit firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu said Tuesday, "it is uncertain whether the Group will have the necessary financial resources to complete these animated pictures," referring to three upcoming Imagi projects: GATCHAMAN, TUSKER and CAT TALE.

Imagi is actively pursuing funding but had only a cash balance of HK$88.9 million ($11.5 million) in September 2008 and is expected to incur about HK$512 million ($66 million) cash outlay to complete its feature and meet daily operating expenses until June 2010 About HK$353 million ($45.6 million) is required within the next 12 months, all before revenue from ASTRO BOY is generated.

"The directors are actively pursuing various funding sources to meet the group's cash flow requirements... However, it is uncertain whether these fund raising exercises will be successful," Deloitte said. "Consequently, in the absence of evidence that the group will be successful in raising the necessary funding as and when it is required, we consider that there is a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to operate as a going concern."

The company reported losses of HK$21.8 million ($2.81 million) compared with HK$27.1 million ($3.50 million,) on revenues down from HK$12.5 million ($1.61 million) to HK$1.56 million ($0.2 million) for the half year to September.

Imagi will use stereoscopic 3-D in the most action-packed sequences of ASTRO BOY and plan for GATCHAMAN and TUSKER to be completely filmed in 3-D. India-set elephant tale TUSKER was once set up at DreamWorks will be directed by Lorna Cook from a script by Ted Talley and produced by Brooke Breton.