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RTV Downsizes As Restructuring Is Successfully Completed

RTV Family Entertainment AG has announced that the company has been successfully restructured, thanks in part to downsizing of staff and a capital increase in cash. In May 2002, RTVs steadily declining economic situation put the company into dire straits until a bridge credit line was issued to them in mid-June 2002. The funds were backed by a letter of credit from RTV's majority shareholder Ravensburger AG. Ravensburger has also taken over the 4.9 million Euros debt that remained, which will now allow RTV to refocus on its core business. According to RTV, the restructuring emphasized management board changes, waiving of liabilities, reductions of ongoing production obligations and financing payments to subsidiaries and downsizing of staff. On August 31, 2002, Peter Hille and Wolfgang Heidrich resigned from their positions as members of the Managing Board, although Heidrich will continue in an advisory capacity. As previously reported in AWN [7/10/02], RTV returned all shares in Dutch documentary production company Off the Fence to Ellen Windemuth, former owner and previous managing director. In return, Windemuth released RTV from its financial obligations. In addition, RTV had written off Sydney, Australia-based subsidiary Energee Entertainment in its entirety, forcing Energee to file for voluntary administration under the Australian insolvency jurisdiction (which offers a similar procedure as North America's Chapter 11). In September 2002, RTV paid AUS $300,000 in exchange for all rights of Energees program library. Due to this payment Energee no longer has external creditors and will be released from voluntary administration. Finally, the RTV production office in Mainz was closed as of the end of September 2002. All production work will now be handled from Munich. In total, the number of employees will decrease by two-thirds (compared to the beginning of this calendar year) to only 15 by the end of 2002.