In a long-anticipated move which gives national and regional government interests direct shares in a film business, Spanish producer-distributor-exhibitor Filmax has undergone a capital increase worth Euros 32m.

The five bodies underwriting the increase are Catalan government-backed Finance Institute (ICF) with 3.9%, the Galician government's investment fund XesGalicia with 9.8%, the national State Society of Industrial Participations and Business Development (SEPIDES) with 9.8%, bank Caixa Laietana with 7.8% and private company Spinnaker Media SCR with 7.8%.

At the signing of the agreement Friday in Barcelona at the ICF headquarters, Filmax president Julio Fernandez said the move would help the company "consolidate its growth plan" and "take on the necessary dimension to consolidate its position on the international market."

Filmax, which posted before-tax profits last year of Euros 7.3m, now boasts a capital of Euros 50m. Its business breaks down into four main areas: national and international distribution of film, TV, video and music contents (Filmax Distribucion); film, TV and animation production (Filmax Factory); animation, DVD and post-production services (Filmax Multimedia); and exhibition (Filmax Pictures).

Among the projects Filmax currently has in the works are: $26m The Daltons, in co-production with France's UGC; Jaume Balaguero's in-development Darkness follow-up, Fragile; Brad Anderson's The Maquinist, starring Christian Bale and Jennifer Jason Leigh, in post-production; Paco Plaza's thriller Romasanta, in production; animated feature El Cid, La Leyenda, ready for release; and a TV series for Antena 3 in development based on the popular children's character Manolito Gafotas, to be directed by Antonio Mercero.