Entertainment Rights cuts jobs as Woolies collapse hits trading

Entertainment Rights, the children's television group which owns the rights to Rupert Bear and Postman Pat, is to cut a third of its workforce as part of a rescue plan that also includes an emergency loan to see it through Christmas.

The group, which also makes DVDs and games, revealed yesterday it faced significant losses following the collapse of Woolworths, one of the largest customers of its UK entertainment business.

Entertainment Rights also said Deborah Dugan, the head of its US arm, would take over as chief executive following the decision of Nick Phillips last week to step down after just nine months in charge.

Ms Dugan, a former EMI executive who served as president of Disney Publishing Worldwide before joining Entertainment last year, said: "I'm coming into the company when it's not in the best position – it needs a lot of careful management attention, and the first thing is securing financial stability."

She announced the group was to axe 50 of its 150-strong workforce by the end of the year as part of its plan to save £5m. "We are highly focused on cutting costs," Ms Dugan added.

Shares in Entertainment Rights leapt by a quarter yesterday after the company announced that it had secured a £13m short-term loan from HBOS, its main lending bank.

The move was made to "cover potential cash flow shortfalls" until the end of February and it remains in discussions with the bank over longer-term funding arrangements. Edward Knighton, chief financial officer, called the loan a "substantial vote of confidence". There had been fears the group had breached its banking coven-ants last week, and one insider admitted that securing the loan had been "touch and go".

Nevertheless, the company faces a difficult few weeks, warning that Christmas sales "will be lower than expected" and that shipment of goods would be later than anticipated. Entertainment Rights said that when Woolworths and its distribution business Entertainment UK had gone into administration, it owed the company £800,000. "The directors are actively seeking clarification as to the recoverability of this sum and the effect of the potential loss to the company," it said.

Entertainment Rights is currently exploring its options with other retailers, including supermarkets, who could replace the Woolworths business which would otherwise be lost.

Yesterday also marked the departure of a second senior manager in a week. Jane Smith, the company's chief creative and commercial director, left "to pursue other opportunities" after nine years at the group.

Ms Smith, who will not be replaced in the short term, is credited with reinventing Postman Pat.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee