Chrysalis calls 'game over' at MAM Leisure

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The Independent Online
AS PROFITS soar at Sega and Nintendo, the home market for amusement machines has never been hotter. But entertainments such as pinball and fruit machines, juke boxes and the video games found in pubs, for example, have found the climate distinctly chillier.

MAM Leisure was frozen out of the market yesterday when its parent company Chrysalis, the music and television company, announced it would be shutting its loss-making amusement machine subsidiary.

Some 400 jobs will be lost by December at MAM, which was budgeted to lose pounds 6m after interest in the year to 31 August and was expected to lose pounds 3.3m in 1993-94.

A new management team was brought into MAM Leisure last year to reduce its size in an effort to return it to profitability. As recently as June, Chris Wright, chairman of Chrysalis, was optimistic about its prospects.

Yesterday he said the decision to close MAM had been taken in the past two weeks. 'Overheads in the industry have increased,' he added. 'Stocking juke boxes with CDs costs pounds 1,000 where singles cost pounds 50. Ultimately, painful as it is in the short term, it will be good for us in the long term.'

MAM Leisure's chief executive, James Naylor, has found a new job from October as chief executive of City Centre Restaurants - owner of Garfunkels and Deep Pan Pizzas - after Philip Kaye resigned.

Chrysalis, which reported interim pre-tax profits of pounds 104,000 for the six months to end-February, will spend around pounds 10m on redundancy payments and the cost of winding down leases on its machines.