German companies' stars have waned with stunning speed in the last 12-18 months, making the Neuer Markt an ominous label today, when previously it was a badge that suggested dynamism and wealth.
The end of year results that emerged from Germany's quoted media firms at the end of last week show exactly why investors lost confidence. For a range of reasons the companies reported lower profits or outright losses. In other cases this week they have sought to delay publishing their figures, something which only adds to the investment community's suspicions.
Senator losses caused by CinemaxX
Despite increasing its revenues by almost 30% last year, producer-distributor Senator Entertainment posted a loss of Euros10.8m primarily due to its 25% stake in multiplex operator CinemaxX, which expects to lose Euros26.2m. Senator's revenues in the 2001 rose from Euro 107.9m to Euro 140.1m. Senator expects to return to profit in the current year and accelerate in 2003.
Profits down at Das Werk
The Das-Werk Group reported turnover amounted to Euros122m in 2001 (Euros88.8m in 2000). The EBITDA was Euro 20.2m million (34.5 mil. Euro in 2000). The core business segments postproduction (EBIT 3.4 mil. Euro) and film production (EBIT 0.9 mil. Euro) operated at a profit.
The group said it should operate in the black again in the current year after implementing a restructuring programme in the 4th quarter of 2001.
Asset rules push Constantin into loss
German producer-distributor Constantin Film recorded a net loss of Euros10.7m in 2001 financial year due to the implementation of stricter film asset accounting rules on sales of Euro 127m, 7% up on 2000's Euro 119m.
With a reduction in the period a film can be counted as earning and new limits on the depreciation of script development, Constantin was obliged to take a Euros15.9m hit against EBIT. For the current year it anticipates only "a moderate increase" in sales for 2002 and an EBIT margin of between 2%-5%.
VCL allowed to delay results
The German Stock Exchange has granted rights trader VCL Film + Medien an extension until May to file its 2001 annual report and first quarterly report for 2002. The company said that "auditors might request an external opinion of the film library", VCL predicted that the previous revenue forecast of Euro100m would be "nearly fulfilled". VCL said that its liquidity bottleneck in November is now being reduced. As of March 31 2002, the contract of executive board member Stefan Radtke will cease and his responsibilities assumed by the other members Datty Ruth and Christian F. Bennhold.
Intertainment also given more time
Licence trader Intertainment has been granted a four-week extension to April to publish its final figures for 2001. Intertainment was not able to submit legal documents connected with the litigation against Franchise Pictures for inspection by its auditors as they are subject to a protective order. Intertainment has already applied to the courts to have this order lifted.
Cinemedia to leave Neuer Markt
Postproduction group CineMedia Film is set to become the next publicly listed media company to voluntarily exit Frankfurt's Neuer Markt exchange. "The Neuer Markt no longer offers the ideal stock market environment that it did at our IPO in February 1999", said Dr Markus Hoelzl, CineMedia's CFO. And
following the recent untimely death of TaunusFilm Produktions' CEO Wolfgang Grass, CineMedia Film has been granted an extension until April 29 for the presentation of its 2001 financial statements.