Beleaguered Spanish distributor-exhibitor Lauren AudiovisualHoldings, parent company of Lauren Films and Lauren Distribution, is operatingas normal, despite filing for credit protection late last week.

According to sources, the company is now operating strictlyon a cashflow basis as a Barcelona judge attempts to reconcile its debt.

But its cinemas remained open at the weekend and willcontinue to do business and Lauren will carry on distributing films, said thesource.

However, business will be very much focused on the shortterm as Lauren focuses on surviving.

Once one of the largest Spanish distributors with a lengthyarrangement with Miramax Films, Lauren has been struggling under a mountain ofdebt as Miramax turned to BVI last December, although Lauren still held 18-oddunreleased titles.

But following the apparent failure of talks to hive thecompany's cinema circuit, Lauren turned to the courts last week. Now thecompany's existing debt has been isolated and Lauren has been affordedprotection by the court as a judge brings the company and its creditorstogether to try to hammer out a deal. There is no timeframe to thisarrangement, but the judge can adjudicate against a party if he believes theyare being unreasonable.

According to reports in the Spanish media, Lauren's debtstands at around Euros 170m. Lauren has an annual turnover of Euros 100m