In February this year, Crest Communications acquired control of Rich Animation through a buyout deal, which did not involve any payout from Crest’s side. A few non-resident Indian shareholders of Crest paid about $5 million for a complete buy-out of Rich Animation.
Under the agreement at that time, Crest would offer fee-based strategic and advisory services to Rich. The merger of Rich Animation into Crest Communications is expected to significantly boost Crest’s top-line growth. Rich Animation is currently working on assignments with large Hollywood banners such as Warner Brothers, Universal Studios and Columbia Tristar.
At present, Crest’s animation business accounts for about 40-50 per cent of its annual turnover but it expects this to grow to about 70 per cent in the next financial year. For the year ended March 31, 2000, Crest’s total income stood at Rs 16.1 crore. Profit after tax was Rs 2.4 crore.
Crest is involved in providing advertising films, animation and graphics, software production for media, post-production facilities etc. It has alliances with production houses in the US and Europe and has animation orders worth about $22 million in hand.
Crest also plans to provide television software content to channels in India and abroad. For this, it has set up a 100-per cent subsidiary in Singapore. This subsidiary has tied up with Singapore-based Tamil channel, Vasantham, for providing television software.
In 1999, the animation business contracted out of Asia alone was worth $4.5 billion and Indian animators had a 10 per cent slice of that business.