Business is good for National Cinemedia


National Cinemedia Inc., the publicly traded company known for its FirstLook block of advertising that runs in movie theaters before showtime, reported a 66% surge in revenue in the fourth quarter.

The company reported revenue of $74.1 million, up from $44.6 million on an increase in the numbers of screens its advertising shows on to more than 14,000, and on a more than doubling in sales at its meetings and events division.

While the bulk of revenue still came from in-theater advertising, the company increased meetings and events sales to $12.9 million from $5.6 million a year ago, largely on the back of a large CineMeetings multisite event during the quarter.

Net income for the company was $700,000, an improvement compared with the $3 million it lost a year ago.

National Cinemedia Inc. owns 44.8% of National CineMedia Llc., which operates the digital in-theater network. The company, founded by AMC Entertainment inc., Cinemark and Regal Entertainment Group, went public in February at $21 a share.

Shares rose 4.1% on Monday to $27.01 but lost ground in after-hours trading once it reported financial results. Before results, Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield reiterated his "buy" recommendation and $31 price target.

The company, Greenfield said, "offers investors a unique advertising growth story that is still in the early stages of growth benefiting from the shift to digital." He also said there is "potential to leverage the National CineMedia advertising infrastructure into other forms of out-of-home advertising.'

The company reiterated Monday that its intention to offer quarterly dividends to shareholders and said the first one is expected in the range of 10-12 cents per share paid at the completion of this year's second quarter.