Ashok Amritraj has unveiled Hyde Park Entertainment Group's global expansion plans and confirmed that the Hyde Park Asia head office will open in Singapore in November while another hub will launch in the Middle East later in the year.

Seeking to create 'the first global independent', Amritraj, who previously opened an office in India, announced several key hires and said he aimed to fully finance four to five features a year and partner on additional studio projects.

Mimi Steinbauer arrives as president of international sales following the departure of Lisa Wilson, which Amritraj stressed was amicable. Senior vice president Patrick Aiello has been promoted to executive vice president of Hyde Park Group's worldwide operations and financial executive Katie Lavery becomes vice president of finance.

Amritraj plans to bring in a business affairs team at the company's Los Angeles headquarters and will hire creative executives for Hyde Park Asia's offices in Singapore as well as the Middle Eastern base.

Hyde Park Asia is backed by credit and private equity with support from Singapore's Media Development Authority and will utilise a $55m-$72m fund to finance three to four projects a year. Amritraj plans to unveil his first slate of Asian titles at AFM in November.

As previously reported, the businessman signed a three-picture deal with Reliance Entertainment's Adlabs Films, which retains an option to co-finance projects and kicked off the deal with David Ellis' horror tale Asylum. Amritraj declined to specify where the Middle East office would be located, adding that it would be linked to investors in the region.

Hyde Park co-produced the terrorism thriller Traitor, which Overture Films released in North America last week. Upcoming releases of Hyde Park product are the romantic comedy The Other End Of The Line that recently wrapped production in Asia and will open through MGM on October 31, Hyde Park/Capcom's Street Fighter, which shot in Bangkok and will open through Fox on February 27 2009 through the company's co-production deal at the studio, and thriller The Dark Country through Sony in mid-2009.

In pre-production are Hyde Park and Platinum Studios' Dead Of Night, an adaptation of the Italian graphic novel phenomenon Dylan Dog that will star Brandon Routh and is scheduled to shoot later this year in Louisiana, as well as one other unannounced project.

Steinbauer previously served as vice president of distribution at New Line International and prior to that worked at Village Roadshow and served consultancy stints at Franchise Pictures and Mobius Entertainment. She assumes a slate that includes Street Fighter, The Persuaders and the remake of 10 as well as third party pick-ups like Scott Free and Social Capital's Tell Tale and Dark Castle's The Gift.

Wilson is understood to be keen to oversee a smaller sales slate and is moving on after four years with Amritraj, who hailed her as a 'terrific' executive. She declined to comment for this article.

'I'm trying to build a global independent,' Amritraj said. 'We're independently financed and I want us to be the first global independent in production all over Asia and North America. Having been born in India, I want to build a bridge between the two cultures of Asia and the West.'