First-half profits up at Kinepolis

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BRUSSELS -- European cinema chain Kinepolis on Friday announced net profits of €8.2 million ($11.2 million) for the first half of the year, up 8.9% from its €7.5 million profit in the first six months of 2006, despite a slip in overall sales.

Sales fell slightly to €100.1 million ($136.8 million), from €102.2 million, reflecting a 9% drop in admissions from 11.8 million over the first half of 2006 to 10.7 million visitors in the January-June period this year. However, Kinepolis said that the sales decline was "limited" to 2.1% thanks to other operating activities in food and beverages, retail, business-to-business and real estate.

Although gross income from ticket sales (which accounted for 60% of revenue) was down 6% from last year, reflecting higher ticket prices, food and beverage sales (22% of revenue) was up 4% as average spending for visitors rose to €2.42 ($3.30) from €2.19 last year.

The group added that real estate income rose by 15%, attributing that largely to the leasing of Cinema City Kinepolis complex in Poland to the ITIT cinema group.

The group said that it expects its full-year results to equal those of last year, with the performance of such films as "Ratatouille," "Die Hard 4.0" and "The Simpsons Movie" heralding an upturn. Looking ahead, Kinepolis said the lineup for the coming months was "promising" and includes "Bourne Ultimatum," "Beowulf," "The Golden Compass," "Bee Movie" and "I Am Legend."

The Kinepolis Group, launched in 1997, opened its 23rd cinema multiplex in the Belgian coastal resort of Ostend. In 2006, the company sold tickets to 23.9 million cinemagoers in Belgium, France, Spain, Poland and Switzerland.
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