Crest to raise up to $12 million through FCCBs

MUMBAI: Crest Animation Studios Ltd is planning to raise up to $12 million through the issue of foreign currency convertible bonds (FCCBs) for part financing three feature films. 

The company's US subsidiary, RichCrest Animation, had earlier signed a three-picture co-production and co-financing agreement with Lions Gate Entertainment. Crest's contribution for these three projects would be around $30 million.

Crest's board, which met today, has approved the raising of funds through issue of FCCBs. The company is looking at a mix of debt and equity to fund the film projects.

The first of the three CGI movies,‘Sylvester and the Magic Pebble’, is based on the Caldecott medal-winning story by William Steig, the creator of the blockbuster Shrek. The pre-production work on the movie is near completion, and the production plan is as per schedule for 2008 release.

Said Crest Animation Studios CEO AK Madhavan, “We are excited to begin work on the first full length 3D CGI movie that will come out of India. Today, all the key components for the movie, the story, the production facilities, financing and the most critical of all, distribution, are in place. The landmark deal has put Crest amongst the only seven studios in the world to have the capability of producing 3D movies in CGI space.”

Meanwhile, Crest has posted a net profit of Rs 4.6 million for the third quarter ended 31 December 2005, as against a loss of Rs 5 million reported during the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

Revenues rose nine per cent rise to Rs 72.9 million as compared to Rs 66.9 million for the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Profit before depreciation, interest and tax (PBDIT) at Rs 24.2 million grew by 28 per cent.

For the nine months ended 31 December, Crest reported revenues of Rs 215.8 million, up 6 per cent from Rs 203.5 million during the corresponding period last year. Profit before depreciation, interest and tax (PBDIT) rose by 4 per cent to Rs 75.2 million, while net profit for the nine months increased to Rs 60.5 million from Rs 6.3 million.

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