Noddy sales help Chorion post 144% rise in profits

NODDY, IT seems, is an astute businessman - or so leisure group Chorion is finding out.

The firm, formerly known as Trocadero, owns the rights to the author Enid Blyton's characters, and their success helped it to post a 144 per cent gain in first-half pre-tax profits to pounds 1.9m. The City approved of yesterday's interims and pushed the share price up 4p to 33.5p.

Turnover at Chorion, which also owns the rights to most of Agatha Christie's work and runs a string of bars, including London's Tiger Tiger, rose to pounds 11.7m from pounds 5.41m for the same period last year.

John Conlan, Chorion's chairman, said: "The bar/nightclubs business has got off to a flying start and Tiger Tiger has surpassed all expectations."

Chorion said its pounds 3m investment in Tiger Tiger, which is located on the Haymarket and opened last year, would be recouped within two years. The Tiger Tiger club opens at 8am for coffee and croissants, serves lunch in the middle of the day and carries on into the small hours as a nightclub.

Chorion plans to create around 840 jobs by opening seven venues across the UK based on the Tiger Tiger concept.

Malcolm Gardner, finance director, said the firm had made progress on eliminating future losses on operations at London's Trocadero entertainment centre, which it leases and sub-lets. Although Trocadero-related losses in the first half widened to pounds 1.67m from pounds 473,000, Chorion said that key tenant Sega, whose venture Segaworld had performed poorly, would leave the site this Sunday.

"The Segaworld deal immediately eliminates losses that are running in excess of pounds 2m per annum," Mr Conlan said.

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