Beatles help EMI keep its losses down

EMI Group, the music company behind artists including Coldplay and Lily Allen, reported a narrower full-year loss helped by a smaller total writedown and sales from the Beatles' catalogue.

The loss for the year ended March 31 was £512 million ($1.1 billion) compared with £1.57 billion a year earlier, Maltby Capital, EMI's holding company controlled by Guy Hands's Terra Firma Capital Partners, said.

EMI, bought by Hands in 2007 at the height of the buyout boom, wrote down assets by £602 million, compared with £1.04 billion a year earlier.

The "principal uncertainty" is whether the company will be able to raise more funds to comply with loan covenants, according to the statement. EMI this year convinced its investors to inject £105 million after breaking debt agreements and it will require more funds next year to meet obligations with Citigroup, its principal lender.

EMI's bank loans and overdrafts as of March this year totalled £3.04 billion. Full-year revenue rose 5.2 per cent to £1.65 billion, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, and before restructuring costs, increased 14 per cent to £334 million.

EMI Music, which represents artists including Robbie Williams and Keith Urban, has sold more than 13 million albums of the Beatles' re-mastered catalogue, and had "strong sales" from artists including Katy Perry and Lady Antebellum, according to yesterday's statement.

"The debt and covenants should not overshadow the ... achievements in the business," spokesman Neil Bennett said. EMI is continuing to push into new streams of revenue including merchandising, live performance and various digital platforms.

Revenue at EMI Music climbed 6.5 per cent to £1.17 billion and sales at EMI Music Publishing gained rose 2.1 per cent to £478 million, the company said.

- Bloomberg

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