Nicola Horlick sets up script development investor group

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The Independent Online

Nicola Horlick, one of the most prominent women in the City, is to set up a company that develops film scripts, with the help of a few of her Hollywood connections.

The launch of Derby Street Films will be announced today by Bramdean Asset Management, the investment vehicle run by Ms Horlick. It plans to raise £2m from investors to develop books and ideas into film scripts.

The group is to develop 25 projects in the next three years, and expects at least 15 to reach principal photography, which is when it will receive a return on its investment.

Derby Street has already received approval under the Enterprise Investment Scheme from Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs and will officially launch on 15 October.

Ms Horlick, who will be chief executive of the company, said: "We will look to work on a number of scripts, then sell them for as much as we can." The company will have three representatives of Bramdean and three "film people" who will pick the scripts, she added.

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) provides tax relief for investors who subscribe to shares in companies that qualify. If the shares are held for more than three years, investors will not have to pay capital gains tax when they sell.

Ms Horlick said: "The EIS is designed to encourage entrepreneurial investment. There is a real need for it, especially in the wake of the credit crunch. The structure is a very good way of financing things, especially in the current environment where taxes are rising."

This is not Ms Horlick's first involvement with the film industry. She has been personally investing since 2001, saying she had high hopes for the forthcoming Halle Berry film Dark Tide. Bramdean has also invested clients' money in a fund that backed films including the Michael Caine vehicle Harry Brown and Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla. The company has also invested in rights to film soundtracks.

Through these investments, Bramdean has got to know Hollywood producers, whose back catalogues include Pulp Fiction, The Thin Red Line and Shutter Island.

Moving into film is not the only diversification that Ms Horlick has carried out this year after she set up Georgina's Restaurants. She has signed the lease and is set to open next year.

Ms Horlick was feted in the City after a successful career at Morgan Grenfell Asset Management and then SG Asset Management. She was dubbed a "City superwoman" as she juggled her working life with raising six children.