Cineworld enjoys hike in boxoffice revenue

U.K. revenue up 11.5% to $500.5 mil in 2009

LONDON -- U.K. exhibition chain Cineworld booked an uptick in revenue in 2009 on the back of boxoffice revenue rises and a healthy surge in admissions.

The second largest cinema chain operator in the U.K. said group revenue rose 11.5% to £333.4 million ($500.5 million) during 2009, up from £298.9 million the previous year, in its second full year as a publicly listed company.

Pre-tax profits also rose, hitting £30.8 million ($46.2 million) last year from £27.6 million previously.

The exhibitor noted that boxoffice tills rang to the tune of £230.9 million ($346.5 million) during the 12 months to December last year, up from £197.5 million in 2008 on the back of a rise in admissions from 45.1 million to 49.1 million in 2009.

Cineworld CEO Stephen Wiener said he was pleased the uptick in figures meant he could return a hike in dividend to investors for the first time since the company's float two years ago.

"The excellent film slate in 2009, combined with our early investment in 3D, has contributed to an increase in our boxoffice market share, enabling us to grow adjusted EPS by 11% and propose the first full year increase in our dividend since IPO," Wiener said.

He also took the opportunity to note the positive contribution of the carryover rollout of "Avatar" across his group's theaters in the early part of 2010.

"With an exciting film release schedule in 2010, we are confident of the prospects for the business in the forthcoming year," he said.
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