A-Line, an informal distribution network formed last year between five South Korean companies, has announced it is parting ways with KangJeGyu Films and re-launching itself as a separate entity.

Renamed Entertainment A-Line, the distributor expects to release a total of 18 local and imported titles per year.

The move follows a highly successful first year for the distributor in which it captured a 5.9% share of the market, ranking seventh overall and third among Korean companies.

"The success we had in our first year meant that the A-Line brand name gained a lot of value," says Stephen Kim, a former principal at Samsung Venture Investment Corporation who was named CEO of the new company. "Our original intention was to go ahead and form a separate legal entity if we were successful, but KangJeGyu Films declined, so ultimately the other four companies went on alone."

Other members of the new company include Hah Seong-gun, formerly of KTB Entertainment, who will be placed in charge of film investment; and head of distribution Kim Sun-ho, who filled a similar role in the original A-Line network.

Kim drew notice in the industry last year for booking the low-profile comedy Boss X-File on a record number of screens during the under-utilised week before the Lunar Harvest holidays. The unorthodox release strategy was credited with helping the film to earn a much better than expected $5.5m.

Entertainment A-Line will release its first title Welcome To Collinwood on January 17. Other films in its line-up include the $10m animated feature Wonderful Days, Show Show Show and imported titles from New Regency Pictures including Daredevil.

"We hope to not only target the domestic market, but also to form a strategic alliance with a Japanese distributor," says Stephen Kim. "The cultural similarities between the two countries mean that many titles which work in Korea may also have potential in Japan."