Fresh from the sale of its 20% equity stake in Rainbow CableNetworks, MGM's chairman and chief executive officer Alex Yemenidjian said thecompany was in its best ever financial shape as second quarter results wereunveiled.

Company figures state that operating activities for the periodended Jun 30 generated $51.2m in net cash, compared to a $22.6m cost for thesame period of 2002.

Revenues grew by 45% to $487.7m compared to $336.9m in theprevious year's second quarter.

MGM also reported a reduced operating loss of $18.5mcompared to the comparable 2002 figure of $99.3m.

The Rainbow sale led to a loss of $93.1m or $0.38 per share. Netloss for the second quarter including the reported loss from the Rainbow dealwas $133.6m or $0.55 per share, compared to $121.8m or $0.48 per share for thesame period last year.

The data reflects strong second quarter activity, chiefly drivenby the performance of Die Another Day, which has become the company's biggest home entertainmenttitle ever, as well as increased market share for the US DVD library and MGM'sstrategy of reclaiming full control of international home entertainmentoperations.

"With a net debt-free balance sheet and strong free cash flowgeneration, MGM is now in the strongest financial position it has ever been," Yemenidjiansaid in a statement.

"This gives us great leverage to pursue transactions that createwealth for our shareholders."

MGM is one offive suitors bidding for Vivendi Universal's entertainment assets and was stillsaid to be in the hunt this week despite having its request for informationdisclosure rejected.