Kinepolis net profit up in '07

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BRUSSELS -- European cinema group Kinepolis on Friday posted a net profit of 14.7 million euros ($22.3 million) for 2007 on sales of 212.3 million euros (322 million).

The figures represented a 0.6% increase in net profit from 2006's 14.6 million euros ($22.2 million) and a 0.5% rise in revenue from 211.2 million euros ($320.5 million).

The figures come despite a 3.4% drop in overall audience numbers, from 22.8 million in 2006 to 22.0 million last year.

The rise in margins came as higher ticket prices and a stronger advertising income helped offset the lower visitor numbers, which Kinepolis blamed on the sunny spring weather and the poor range of blockbusters. Revenue also was boosted by strong food and drink sales combined with a 25% jump in income from the company's real estate arm.

The company -- which has 23 multiplexes in France, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland and Poland -- also pointed to its own Kinepolis Film Distribution division, which enjoyed successes with Flemish titles ("Man zkt Vrouw," "Ben X," "Vermist") and the Belgian distribution of "The Golden Compass."

Looking ahead, Kinepolis said there appears to be a better spread of hit films this year compared with 2007's concentrated May-August blockbuster season.

It predicted a strong 2008, with "Asterix and Obelix at the Olympic Games," "10,000 BC," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," "Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," "The Mummy 3," Bond film "Quantum of Solace" and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."
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