Not a marquee Q1 for Regal

Reports a $3 million Q1 loss despite record first-quarter revenue

NEW YORK -- First the good news: Regal Entertainment Group posted record first-quarter revenue. Now the bad news: Revenue edged up a weak 0.3% despite a solid quarterly performance by the overall boxoffice, and a debt extinguishment swung the company to a Q1 loss.

Knoxville, Tenn.-based Regal reported a $3 million loss for the period, including a $33 million loss from the debt extinguishment. In the year-ago quarter, it had recorded a profit of $229.1 million, including a $209 million gain from the initial public offering of cinema advertising firm National CineMedia.

Regal's first-quarter revenue came in at $626.8 million. Revenue from admissions rose $5.3 million, but concession sales declined $2.2 million.

"We look forward to completing the acquisition of Consolidated Theatres and to a summer film slate featuring both proven franchise films and big-budget original content," Regal CEO Mike Campbell said.

However, CFO Amy Miles warned of tough year-ago comparisons in the current second and especially the third quarter. The company cited such strong year-ago boxoffice performers "Transformers" and "Spider-Man 3."

SMH Capital analyst David Miller said the latest revenue figure came in well below his projection of $647.7 million.

"Admission revenues rose 1.2%, while concessions revenues actually declined 1.2% despite a U.S. boxoffice that finished the March quarter up 3.5% in overall sales volume," he said in maintaining his "sell" rating on the stock.

Regal shares closed up 1.2% on Thursday at $19.54. The stock has traded at $16.40-$23.14 during the past year.

Through its Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres and Edwards Theatres brands, the firm operates 6,385 screens in 525 locations in 39 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.