Cineplex Galaxy fund posts lower Q4 earnings

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TORONTO -- Canadian exhibition giant Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund said Wednesday that it posted sharply lower fourth-quarter earnings, despite managing to increase revenues overall amid falling Canadian cinema attendance nationwide.

Toronto-based Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund posted earnings of CAN$4.6 million ($3.9 million) for the three months to Dec. 31, against a profit of CAN$7.3 million in 2005.

Total fourth-quarter revenues rose slightly to CAN$195 million ($165.2 million), against a year-earlier $193.2 million. That revenue hike came despite Canadian boxoffice revenues falling by about 6% industrywide during the fourth quarter of 2006, compared with the same period in 2005 when "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "King Kong" dominated the boxoffice.

For full-year 2006, Cineplex Galaxy posted CAN$7.8 million ($6.6 million) in earnings, against a year-earlier profit of CAN$13 million.

Cineplex Galaxy president and CEO Ellis Jacob told financial analysts his company bucked the industry downturn in 2006 by scheduling multiple screenings of "Casino Royale" at its bigger multiplexes to increase its boxoffice from the latest installment of the James Bond franchise.

Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund has a 59.7% stake in Cineplex Entertainment LP, which owns and operates 129 theaters with 1,296 screens nationwide.

The remaining stake in Cineplex Entertainment LP is held by Onex Corp.

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