Beleaguered French major, Gaumont announced plans to produce some ten films over the next 18 months as it concentrates its efforts on production and distribution. But two of its big productions forced the company into massive losses for last year.

Gaumont announced net losses of $60.1m (FF437m) compared with a profit of $7.98m (FF58m) in 1999. The company blamed flops Les Visiteurs En Amerique and Vatel for its troubles. The reduced 1999 problems were attributed to a weak exhibition market. Turnover in 2000 amounted to $214m (FF1.56bn) compared with $253m (FF1.84bn).

The film division saw its turnover drop from $116m (FF846m) to $81.3m (FF591m) as Vatel's failure failed to outweigh the success of Les Rivieres Pourpres. The division recorded losses of $60.4m (FF439m) compared with a profit of $23.5m (FF171m).

The exhibition circuit, which saw an 8% increase in business, is now being merged with that of Pathe to form EuroPalaces.

The company said that J'Ai Faim, a first film by Florence Quentin is now scheduled for delivery in the autumn and that it is now in production on Djmal Bensalah's Le Raid and Ion Sherman's English-language film I Am With Lucy.

The current year has had one notable success, some 5.3 million spectators for Francis Veber's The Closet (Le Placard).

Gaumont shares dropped 6% to Euros38.5, at which the company is valued at $142m.