Former PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (PFE) chief Michael Kuhn is back at the helm of a European-based film powerhouse after unveiling backing from US studio 20th Century Fox and financing house Citibank in London.

Kuhn's London-based production and financing outfit Kuhn & Co has struck a multi-picture distribution deal with Fox, which will distribute up to ten films from Kuhn over a four year-period in North America, the UK, Italy, Germany and Latin America.

Financing is being arranged by Kuhn & Co through Citibank. The films, which will range in budget from $10m to $50m and to be based around European talent and stories, are to come through a revised model of Kuhn's securitisation scheme, which is to use European public money to leverage private financing. Projects are to be produced for NI European Film Productions GmbH and Co KG.

Kuhn & Co plans to aggressively pursue relationships with other producers for his new structure, creating a group of satellite producers reminiscent of PFE. How Kuhn will handle international sales on remaining territories has yet to be determined.

"This is an important strategic move for Fox, and we look forward to Kuhn & Co supplying our distribution pipeline with a steady and varied output of quality films," said Fox chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman in a statement. "We are particularly delighted to be in business with our friend Michael Kuhn, who is one of the most respected executives in our industry."

Kuhn, who set up PFE in 1991, has been building a European studio model capable of emulating PFE since 1998, when he negotiated a multi-million dollar exit agreement from the Euro studio after it was bought by Seagram.

"It has been a particular pleasure that Jim and Tom share my belief that there is a real opportunity to produce mainstream movies from London," added Kuhn. "I am confident that with the benefit of the talent base on my side of the Atlantic, we will make movies that combine box office and quality."

Kuhn oversaw the production and distribution of more than 100 films at PFE including Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill, Dead Man Walking and The Usual Suspects.

In 1999, he boarded Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group (RUG) to be a senior adviser to the company's film arm. Projects in development include The Phantom Of The Opera, Aspects Of Love and an animated version of Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Kuhn had negotiated the acquisition of a 30% stake in RUG by PolyGram, which RUG subsequently bought back after the Seagram deal.

John Ptak at Creative Artists Agency brokered the Fox deal for Kuhn & Co.