One of Europe's top animation houses, Rome-based Mondo TV, has sealed a series of deals worth at least $20m with North Korean outfit Sek - who will now replace South Korean mini-major Hahn Shin Corporation as a co-producer on several major upcoming theatrical animation features.

As part of the new relationship, Sek has paid Euros 17.6m to acquire 30% of all Asian distribution rights to four Mondo animated biopics that are in production: an epic about Genghis Khan, one of Mother Teresa, of Italian saint Father Pio, and of Ramses. These four were originally being co produced by Hahn Shin.

"It was a 'friendly' cancellation of our deal," Mondo TV's Matteo Corrado told Screen International. "Our decision was simply based on the better financial conditions Sek were able to offer but there is no animosity involved and Hahn Shin remains a partner of ours on other projects."

In addition, Sek has also decided to board Mondo TV's Euros 4m Pinocchio, a brand new animation project revisiting the Disney classic, for which it is paying Euros 3.65m - again in return for 30% of Asian distribution rights.

Mondo TV is the second Italian company after Mediaset to be listed on the Milan stock exchange. In addition to production, Mondo is involved in theatrical and TV distribution, merchandising, and multimedia and music distribution.