Business at Neuer Markt-listed German rights trader Intertainment has been practically put on hold as a result of its bitter legal wrangle with Elie Samaha's Franchise Pictures.

Announcing first quarter results for this year, Intertainment chief Ruediger "Barry" Baeres reported that his company had posted sales of only Euros4.88m - compared to Euros33.4m in the same period last year. These revenues had largely been generated by pay-TV sales for older titles.

According to Baeres, some 80% of Intertainment's planned turnover for 2001 was supposed to have been generated by films from his output arrangement with Franchise. However, until the legal dispute is resolved, Intertainment cannot receive delivery of the films under dispute and begin their exploitation.

Intertainment's net operating income for the first three months of 2001 came to Euros44,000 - compared to Euros17.4m last year. The company had a negative EBIT of Euros440,000.

Intertainment's cash and cash equivalents amounted to Euros72.1m on March 31, up from Euro 39.8m at the end of the first quarter in 2000. Given the uncertainty of the outcome of the litigation against Franchise, Intertainment is actively looking for alternative production partners. To this end, Intertainment spent Euros1.94m in the first quarter as part of the five-year agreement signed in May last year with US producer Arnold Kopelson.

Shortly before Cannes, Baeres announced that the action thriller A Window To Atlantis (working title) would be the first joint film project produced by Intertainment and Kopelson, as well as the first project under Intertainment's two-year co-financing agreement with Paramount Pictures.