Entertainment One First-Half Earnings, Revenue Rise

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

CEO Darren Throop lauds the Canadian film firm's financial performance as "strong" and touts the release slate for the back half, including "Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

Canadian producer and distributor Entertainment One on Tuesday reported improved earnings and revenue for the first half of its fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

The company has grown with the $230 million acquisition of Alliance Films earlier this year. The deal created the largest independent film distributor in the U.K. and Canada. The merged company also has broader international reach across the U.S., Australia, the Benelux countries and Spain.

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Entertainment One reported first-half profit of $12 million (7.5 million pounds), compared with $480,00 (300,000 pounds) in the year-ago period. But operating profit declined nearly 30 percent amid higher expenses and bigger one-off items.

Adjusted earnings, which exclude one-off items and other factors that impact underlying performance, more than doubled, from $10.3 million (6.4 million pounds) to $24.8 million (15.4 million pounds).

First-half revenue rose to $587.2 million (364.5 million pounds) from $355.2 million (220.5 million pounds).

The group plans to release more than 250 films in various territories during the current financial year, including The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Red 2 and Ender's Game.

Theatrical releases earlier this year have included Now You See Me, The Place Beyond the Pines, Scary Movie 5 and Behind the Candelabra. DVD releases have included Django Unchained, Safe Haven and The Silver Linings Playbook.

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In its TV business, Entertainment One has had continuing success with kids' show Peppa Pig, which in the U.S. airs on Nick Jr.

"We are demonstrating the strength of our strategy of investing in world-class content and exploiting our distribution rights on a multi-territory, multi-platform basis, and I am delighted to report another strong set of half-year results across the group," said CEO Darren Throop.

"The film division, enlarged by the successful integration of Alliance, has performed well in the first half and has a strong release slate across our territories for the second half," he added. "The television division has secured an impressive string of season renewals and signed a significant output deal with the leading cable company AMC Networks, which is testament to our expertise in international distribution."

Throop concluded: "We are looking forward to a positive second half of the year in line with management expectations."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai