Sales for Germany's Constantin Film in the first half of 2001 are down by around a third on the performance for the same period last year, according to provisional figures released ahead of the company's annual shareholders meeting in Munich.

Constantin reported that sales amounted to Euro 44.1m - compared to Euro 64m in 2000 - with gross profit totalling Euro 3.9m (2000: Euro 10.9m) and the EBIT coming out at Euro -1.7m (2000: Euro 5.3m).

An official announcement explained that 10 of Constantin's 2000 lineup of 17 releases were distributed in the first six months and these had included the two blockbusters The Sixth Sense (more than 4m admissions) and American Pie (more than 6m admissions), whereas 2001 had seen only six of the year's planned 25-film lineup being released in the first half of this year. Thus, most of the sales from theatrical distribution in 2001 will be generated in the third and fourth quarters.

As Constantin's CFO Daniel Wiest observed at a media conference organised by the HSBC Trinkaus Burkhardt bank at the end of May, the threat of the actors strike at the beginning of 2001 had meant that "many US studios have kept films back and so we have had to put back our release dates accordingly. Thus there will be clear concentration of product in the second half of the year".

Anticipating analyst concern about the drop in sales, Wiest had declared at the conference that "one would be ill advised if one tried to programme film releases according to quarterly results".

Meanwhile, Constantin's shareholder structure has been altered slightly following a share issue of 98,600 shares to increase the company's minority interest in INNOVUM Smart Products to 51%. As from now, the free float is 37.6%, Bernd Eichinger holds 25%, Kirch Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG 21.1%, and EM.TV Merchandising 16.3%. (ends)