EMI’s Firm Future

EMI cash generation has more than tripled from about £50 million to almost £180 million and the company has “firm foundations for the future,” executive chairman Charles Allen told BBC Radio 4.

The 30-minute documentary called “EMI: Facing The Music” also drew attention to the fact the company lost £1.7 billion last year due to writedowns and crippling interest payments.

The £1.5 billion private equity investors put into the £4.2 billion purchase of the major music company is now worth absolutely nothing. But, as Terra Firma chief Guy Hands has explained: “Anybody who bought anything in 2007 paid too much for it.”

Allen, who joined EMI from ITV in the spring, claimed that in the last year it’s the only major music company to have shown topline growth.

However, Allen’s confidence that Terra Firma can keep Citigroup from getting its hands on EMI was somewhat undermined by Jazz Summers, whose management career has included looking after Wham!, The Verve and Snow Patrol.

“Is EMI the first port of call with a new band? Probably not,” Summers told the programme. “They will lose people because when you see they have to raise money, how would anyone feel if they’re not sure if it’s financially secure?”

Summers and Tim Clark – who manages Robbie Williams – agreed that they were happier with the way the company has dealt with their respective artists than they were 12 months ago.

EMI Music Publishing has confirmed its Belgian office will close June 14, followed by its Dutch office shutting down June 30. A total of 16 staff will lose their jobs.

Synch deals will be handled from the German office, while A&R staff from the UK and Sweden will look after the artist roster.
The closures are being put down to the global downturn in music sales, the economic recession and illegal downloading.