Cineworld H1 is boxoffice hit

British cinema chain posts 33% pre-tax profit hike

British cinema chain Cineworld Group Plc. posted a 33% rise in first-half pre-tax profit aided by a string of blockbusters that boosted admissions, and said that it was performing in line with market expectations for the year.

The company, which operates cinema complexes throughout the U.K. and Ireland, said its core business remained strong and that it was on schedule to open two new cinemas in the second half.

The second half promises an exciting lineup of releases, such as "GI Joe," "Fame," "2012," "The Twilight: New Moon" and "St Trinian's 2," the company said in a statement.

"This strong film lineup, in conjunction with our solid first-half performance, underpins our confidence in performing in line with market expectations for the year," it said.

The company maintained its interim dividend at 3.2 pence.

For the 27 weeks ended July 2, the company's pre-tax profit rose to £11.6 million ($19.2 million) from £8.7 million last year. Revenue grew 18% to £161.9 million.

Cineworld shares closed at 161.75 pence on Wednesday on the London Stock Exchange. ($1=.6054 Pound)