Lionsgate reports higher earnings, revenue

Vancouver-based studio on track to meet 2010 guidance

TORONTO -- Lionsgate on Monday posted sharply higher first-quarter earnings and revenue and said it's on track to meet full-year 2010 guidance.

Vancouver-based Lionsgate posted earnings of $36.3 million to June 30, compared with a profit of $3.5 million in 2009, on first-quarter revenue up 30% to $387.7 million, against a prior-year $298.5 million.

The mini-major also reported adjusted EBITDA of $53 million in the first quarter, against adjusted EBITDA of $17.4 million last year.

Mandate Pictures' revenue of $53.1 million, against $8.5 million in 2009, and TV production revenue jumping 112% to $87.2 million helped offset home entertainment revenue slipping 6% to $151 million, TV revenue in the motion pictures category falling 29% to $20.6 million and International revenue off 5% to $32.5 million during the latest quarter.

Also within the motion picture segment, theatrical revenue fell 26% to $22.7 million, as Lionsgate released only "Crank: High Voltage" during the latest quarter, while mopping up revenue from Q4 2009 releases "Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail" and "The Haunting in Connecticut."

Lionsgate also posted a first-time contribution of $27.8 million from newly acquired TV Guide Network and TV Guide.com.

"As anticipated, we had a strong and profitable growth quarter that puts us on track to meet our financial targets for the year," Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement ahead of an analyst call Tuesday morning.

The mini-major in June said it would bounce back from a widened full-year loss for fiscal 2009 and return to the black in 2010 on record overall revenue.

Lionsgate projected fiscal 2010 revenue of just more than $1.5 billion and a swing in adjusted EBITDA from -$133.6 million in 2009 to $75 million at the end of the current year.

That optimism comes as activist shareholder Carl Icahn continues to build his stake in Lionsgate as a prelude to a possible proxy war.
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