Infogrames profit up, debt down

No more movie tie-ins, says CEO Bruno Bonnell. Still, the company sucks up major costs associated with Driver 3.

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Earlier this month, Atari released revenue figures for the fiscal year 2004. It reported a $65 million drop in revenues for the year--from $534.2 million in FY2003 to $468.9 million in FY2004, ending March 31, 2004.

Today, Atari's parent company, Infogrames, elaborated on those figures. For the FY ending March 31, 2004, Infogrames tallied net losses of 31.5 million euros ($38.2 million), compared to losses of 110 million euros ($135 million) the year previous. The net loss, while substantially less than last year's loss, was more than analysts had expected, Reuters reported.

In addition, the company's operating profit was 2.6 million euros ($3.2 million) this fiscal year compared with a 6.9 million euro ($8.4 million) loss the previous year. The company today touted a reduction in its debt as well, stating that debt had been cut by a third, from 467 million euros ($573 million) last year to 313 million euros ($384 million) for the most recent fiscal year ending March 31, 2004.

As far as company strategy going forward, Infogrames CEO Bruno Bonnell is apparently following a "less is more" approach. "We have a smaller games catalog this year because we are concentrating on our franchises. This will give us a better operating margin," he told the Dow Jones Newswires.

Bonnell had previously stated that the company would pursue a "fewer but bigger titles" approach to publishing. On May 6, Bonnell stated that the company expected to release only 45 games in FY2005 compared to the 75 it released in FY2004.

Additionally, Bonnell made it clear that for the foreseeable future, his company was planning no new movie-based games. Costs associated with the development and marketing of Enter the Matrix reportedly cost the company 40 million euros ($50 million) in FY2004.

Shares in the company have dropped 44 percent this year, attributed primarily to the delayed release of Driver 3--a game that Reuters states is costing the company close to 51 million euros ($62 million) in production and marketing. Driver 3 is due to ship on June 1, 2004.

In Paris today, Infogrames shares slid an additional 4.78 percent to 2.39 euros. On Wall Street, Atari shares shed 4.1 percent in value, closing at $2.81.

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