Pinewood investors can take solace after fine first half

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U.K. studio facilities behemoth Pinewood Shepperton on Thursday posted excellent six-month earnings despite the global economic downturn, but it warned that the SAG dispute will likely have an impact.

Pinewood Shepperton said pretax profits jumped 31% to £3.8 million ($7 million) for the six months ending June 30.

Revenue at the group, which owns and operates the Pinewood and Shepperton studio complexes on the outskirts of London, rose nearly 19% in the first half to £21.7 million ($39.8 million).

The uptick means shareholders enjoy a 5% increase in the group's interim dividend and can rest easy knowing that the board secured a five-year banking facility of £70 million ($128 million) in August to fuel expansion. Operating profits surged 33% to £4.8 million ($8.8 million) in the first half.

The board is wary about SAG's stalemate with the studios but remains hopeful that a possible change in the national board after the guild's September election will lead to a resolution.

Revenue from filmmaking grew 20.4% to £13 million ($23.8 million). The results were boosted by the continuation of production of several major films carried over from 2007, including Sony's "Quantum of Solace." (partialdiff)
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