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FFI reels in Reel Media; says US trading affected by scandal involving leading independent film producer

I think we all know who they mean when they say "prominent independent film maker"
Hollywood sign
The casting couch culture has cast a shadow over the US business

FFI Holdings Plc (LON:FFI) has acquired Reel Media, a US-based entertainment insurance agency and speciality brokerage that offers numerous insurance products to the entertainment industry globally.

FFI is purchasing Reel Media on an instalment basis, with an initial cash payment of US$7.25 million and five annual payments equivalent to a six-times multiple of 8.6% of trailing underlying earnings (EBITDA) thereafter.

FFI said the acquisition would broaden its capabilities beyond its core completion contract business to include the management of other forms of entertainment risk cover.

FFI is also exploring various affiliations with other insurance intermediaries to further grow this line of business.

In the 12 months preceding the acquisition, Reel Media generated US$9.9 million in revenues and adjusted EBITDA of US$2.56 million.

"Alongside our recent acquisitions in post-production services, today's announcement is a continued demonstration of our commitment to deploy the proceeds of our recent IPO to growth opportunities for our shareholders," said Steven Ransohoff, the chief executive officer of FFI.

In a separate announcement, FFI revealed group revenues in the six months to the end of September rose 55.1% to US$24.2mln from US$15.6mln in the same period of 2016.

Completion contract revenue rose 24.3% to US$18.9mln.

Underlying earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) expanded to US$7.1mln from US$5.4mln the year before.

Factoring in flotation costs of US$8.9mln, reported EBIT was negative at US$1.8mln versus a profit the previous year of US$4.9mln.

On the plus side, the flotation did boost the company’s coffers, and net cash at the end of September had increased to US$41.5mln from US$15.7mln a year earlier.

The company saw growth in all of its contract completion markets except for the US where a scandal involving one prominent independent film maker led to project delays.

“It is frustrating to have been impacted by recent events in the US film business as our core business has experienced growth in the rest of the world and the US business had been on track to meet expectations until scandals erupted in the last quarter of the calendar year resulting in the delay or cancellation of several projects,” said Ransohoff. 

“As we move towards the fiscal fourth quarter, I expect a busy end to our financial year and further announcements on our use of IPO proceeds,” he added.

Shares in FFI were down 1.3% in afternoon trading.

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