Chrysalis ends dividend drought with one-off payment of 3.25p

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The Independent Online
CHRYSALIS, the entertainment group, has announced its first dividend for more than two years. Next April shareholders will receive a one-off payment of 3.25p a share, the proceeds of the sale of the Chrysalis Record Company to Thorn EMI in November 1991.

Chris Wright, group chairman, who owns 47.5 per cent of the shares and controls more than half of the voting rights, will take up the scrip alternative to the dividend. The shares rose 5p yesterday to close at 108p.

Chrysalis made a pre-tax loss of pounds 14.6m in 1993 compared with a pre- tax profit of pounds 5.6m in 1992. Losses of pounds 11.1m arose from the closure of MAM Leisure, the amusement machine subsidiary, last August.

The disposal of the loss-making MAM is part of the restructuring of the Chrysalis group, which will have three divisions - music, visual entertainment and radio. David Puttnam, the film producer, recently joined as a non-executive director.

Chrysalis launched Echo, its new record label, in July. Pony Canyon, the music division of the Japanese media group Fujisankei, has a 25 per cent stake. So far Echo has signed one group and is in talks with three other artists. In visual entertainment Chrysalis has had notable successes, including Italian football on Channel 4 and Indycar Racing on ITV.

Radio has brought disappointment with the failure to win a London commercial radio franchise earlier this year. But Chrysalis, which has an 18.7 per cent stake in Metro Radio and won the new West Midlands commercial radio licence, will be looking for other regional opportunities.

Analysts believe the company is unlikely to enjoy an early return to significant profits. Changes under way could take three or more years to show results.