Kinowelt, Germany's fast growing mini-major, claims to have become the world leader in in-flight entertainment after completing the take-over of in-flight content provider Entertainment Concepts.

The Los Angeles-based Entertainment Concepts will be merged with Kinowelt's existing in-flight company Atlas Air Film + Media Service, which supplies movies and other programming for 15 airlines including Northwest Airlines, Emirates, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airlines. The deal is expected to give the enlarged Atlas Air 30% of the world market for in-flight entertainment.

Joerg Schiffmann, managing director of Atlas Air said: "through the integration of our international competitor Entertainment Concepts we will be able to profit to an inordinate extent from the dynamism of our growth sector." The company also said that Atlas Air's turnover will climb from $10.3m (DM21m) in 1999 to $17.2m (DM35m) this year and over $19.8m (DM40m) in 2001.

Kinowelt cites a study by market researcher Delphi forecasting 40% growth by 2003 in the sector of in-flight video entertainment.

Kinowelt last week reported a 159% increase in pre-tax profit, from $9.9m (DM20.1m) in 1998 to $25.6m (DM52m) in 1999. Turnover climbed 76% from $103m (DM210m) to $182m (DM370m) over the same period. Operating margins widened from 10% to 14%. The company is due to report post-tax profit in May.

Kinowelt finance director Eduard Unzeitig attributed the company's growth to the strength of film distribution, home entertainment and film licensing and added that the company's share of the German film distribution market more than doubled in 1999 to 11%.