News Column

HTVN Parts with CEO, Faces Nasdaq Delisting

Apr 24 2001 12:00AM

Dianne Solis , The Dallas Morning News

Nasdaq image

By Dianne Solis

April 21 - Troubles widened at Hispanic Television Network Inc. with the recent announcement that it has terminated its 2-month-old contract with chief executive officer Emilio Gorriti.

Founder and chairman James A. Ryffel will step in as interim CEO, the company said. It did not give a timetable for a permanent replacement for Mr. Gorriti, the second CEO to leave the Haltom City-based company this year. Mr. Gorriti could not be reached for comment.

The company has also received notice that it could be delisted from the Nasdaq stock market by June 7 if its stock price doesn't rise above $1, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Shares of Hispanic Television closed down 3 cents Friday at 40 cents. Early last year, it had traded as high as $21.

Hispanic Television, which owns six Spanish-language stations, is awash in red ink, reporting a loss of $38 million last year against only $620,955 in revenue.

Just two months ago, the company praised the arrival of Mr. Gorriti, his planned investment of $6.5 million and the planned merger of his programming company, C-Networks LLC, with Hispanic Television.

But Mr. Gorriti -- who produced programming for the youth market from Buenos Aires, Argentina -- didn't meet all his financial obligations, the company said.

He replaced Marco Camacho, a veteran broadcasting executive from Houston.

The cash crunch at Hispanic Television is severe. In a federal filing this week, for example, the company said it had only $10,000 in hand.

The company got a breather, though, from other creditors. Hispanic Television said Thursday that payment deadlines on a crucial credit agreement had been extended and restructured.

The high-profile investors behind the credit facility are Goff Moore Strategic Partners LP, run by John C. Goff and Darla Moore, associates of Fort Worth investor Richard Rainwater.

Source: (c) 2001, The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

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