U.K.'s Pinewood Shepperton Posts Improved First-Half Financials

11:42 PM PST 11/26/2012 by Georg Szalai

The studio facilities operator, known as the British home of the James Bond franchise, swung to a pre-tax profit and added a former EMI executive to its board.

LONDON - U.K. studio facilities operator Pinewood Shepperton, best known as the British studio home of the James Bond franchise, on Tuesday reported improved financials for the six months ended Sept. 30, the first half of its fiscal year.

Boosting results were such productions as Skyfall, Maleficent and Les Miserables. TV revenue was down as demand for studio space from film productions at times meant that the company made its TV production space available for them in the latest period.

The company also said that it has added Ruth Prior, the former group COO and CFO of recently split up and sold music major EMI Group, to its board. "She will complement the existing skills of the board, bringing with her significant and relevant experience from another of the key sectors of the creative industries," Pinewood chairman Michael Grade said.

Pinewood Shepperton, the largest provider of stage and studio space in Europe, recorded a profit before taxes, but after special items, of $4.8 million (£3 million). That compared with a loss of £5.4 million for the same period a year earlier.

On an operating basis and excluding exceptional items, Pinewood posted a profit of $9.8 million (£6.1 million) for the six months period. That was up 65 percent from the profit of £3.7 million in the year-ago period.

Revenue of $43.5 million (£27.1 million) compared with £24.6 million, up 10.2 percent. Pinewood this year changed its fiscal year to start in April instead of January.

Said CEO Ivan Dunleavy: "Current trading is positive with a high level of contracted revenues for the remainder of the current financial year. The number of film productions contracted so far for next year is encouraging, and the board looks forward to the future with confidence.”
 
Pinewood Shepperton recently signed a five-year agreement with the Isle of Man government that will see the company take on the role of manager of and adviser on film investment opportunities for the island's $40.4 million (£25 million) media development fund to help it attract productions. It will also help it capitalize on U.K. distribution rights to films and TV programs funded by the Isle of Man.

In return, the Isle has agreed to take a small stake in the company by buying around 5 million shares of its stock for $19.7 million (£12.2 million). That amounts to a stake of around 9.9 percent.
 
Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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