Nelvana margin climbs

nelvana’s strategic shift to produce exclusively proprietary productions and shun service work has paid off to the toon of $8.6 million ($1.21 per share) in 1998 net earnings, a 75% increase from $4.9 million the year before.

For the year ended Dec. 31, Nelvana’s net margin reached 12% compared to 9% last year.

‘Our strong 1998 results are directly attributable to the successful implementation of our strategy to focus exclusively on more profitable proprietary productions and aggressively build our program library, which reached 1,073 half-hour episodes at year end,’ says Michael Hirsh, co-ceo.

1998 total revenue jumped 34% to $75.1 million, compared with $56.2 million in ’97. The growth reflects a 45% increase in production and distribution revenue to $63.8 million from $43.9 million as well as the addition of $4.3 million in revenue from publishing operations with the August acquisition of Kids Can Press. The revenue increase from kcp was partially offset by a $6.6-million decrease in production services revenue.

Nelvana delivered 187 half-hour episodes during the year while library sales increased 35% to $22 million, up from $16.3 million in ’97. Sales of 1994 and prior year series comprised 34% of total library sales during the year.

Among the 14 series Nelvana produced in 1998 were the primetime-skedded Bob and Margaret, the 3D Rolie Polie Olie, six series for the cbs Saturday kids’ block and 20 episodes of the live-action/animation combo series Elliot Moose.