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eOne on course to double in size

Transatlantic producer and distributor Entertainment One (eOne) says it is on course to achieve its target of doubling in size over the next five years, after revealing a sharp rise in annual profits.

Peppa Pig

eOne property Peppa Pig

eOne reported profits before tax of US$71m to the end of March, up 105% on the previous year, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were up 16% at US$173m.

Darren Throop, president and CEO at eOne, revealed the company’s TV division is expecting to deliver around 850 half-hours of programming over the next fiscal year, compared with 572 during the past 12 months.

The company’s TV portfolio contains more than 35 series, including Book of Negroes, The Walking Dead, Hell on Wheels and Rookie Blue. The firm has also been busy in the M&A department, acquiring a majority stake in The Mark Gordon Company, the US producer behind Grey’s Anatomy and Ray Donovan, for US$132.6m last year.

In December, eOne promoted the chief operating officer of its TV arm, Margaret O’Brien, to oversee the company’s burgeoning M&A activity, which has included purchases of Paperny Entertainment and Force Four Entertainment.

Throop said the deals marked “significant operational progress” along with new sales arrangements with digital platforms, the acquisition of Mark Gordon and “further progress internationally for (eOne property) Peppa Pig.”

“Scale is key to attract and partner with more of the world’s best creative talent to produce the best content for distribution across our global network, which drives an improved financial return for the group,” he said. “This, alongside our portfolio approach which mitigates against concentration risk, ensures eOne is well positioned for the coming year and beyond.”

In January, eOne TV boss John Morayniss extended his stay at the company, which has restructured its international TV sales and distribution team in several key markets to expand the division’s reach.

Kids’ animation Peppa Pig is being prepared for roll-out in China, following the appointment of a Hong Kong-based exec.

Throop said the increasing focus on premium digital content would enable the firm to achieve its five-year target.

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