Only days after completing a deal to purchase post facility Molinare, new joint owners and managing directors Mark Foligno and Steve Milne are already ploughing money into the struggling facility, writes Sam Espensen.
The company was bought from The TV Corporation for just£10 last Friday and the new owners are promising to invest more than£1.5m over the next three years. The first phase of investment is underway with£500,000 being spent on the refurbishment of two audio suites, the installation of a new HD non-linear suite and on HD cameras for the studio. Next year will see a further£500,000 investment and the same again in 2005.
Foligno is sure HD is the way forward. "I believe in it 100% and I hope that Molinare will become known as a centre of excellence for it," he told Broadcast. "Molinare is potentially a massive player in this market as long as we evolve it. Its heritage and history are fantastic, but it has to become more than it is."
Previous owner The TV Corporation sold the facility to its management team for a nominal fee after lengthy negotiations. Despite the company's losses over the past few years, the new owners have inherited no debt. "We were able to negotiate with The TV Corp so that it took a hit which gave us a clean sheet going forward," said Foligno. "We have kept quiet about it because we knew there were people out there who'd bite their arm off for this deal."
An analyst's report from Bridgewell Securities puts the sum written off as£4.3m and TV Corp retains a 19.9% stake in Molinare.
The TV Corp's results for the six months to 30 June 2003 revealed a rise in turnover to£26.7m from£25.2m in 2002. But, trading profit dropped to£1.7m from£3.1m last year. Profit before interest and goodwill dipped to£474,000 from£1.8m in 2002.