Imax Corporation will post a third-quarter loss, according to a release issued late Wednesday. The news will further complicate the company's search for a buyer.

The giant screen entertainment company has been hit by the downturn amongst theatrical exhibitors in North America. Since August three US circuits - Edwards Theatres, Regal Cinemas and Cinemark - have filed for bankruptcy protection; all three lease a total of 22 Imax systems with a further 12 on order. Imax derives most of its revenue from such leases as well as a share of ticket sales.

According to the Imax release, "19 of the 72 third party theatre system deliveries in its sales backlog as of June 30, 2000 are scheduled to be delivered to North American multiplex customers."

In July, the company announced plans to look for a strategic partner or buyer after its largest shareholder, New York investment house Wasserstein Perella, decided to unload its 30% stake.