'Star Wars,' 'Spectre' Help Boost Pinewood First-Half Film Revenue, Earnings

Spectre Still 2 Daniel Craig - H 2015
Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures

The upcoming 'Star Wars: Episode VII' and 'Star Wars' spinoff 'Rogue One' have been based at the U.K. studio facilities operator, home to the James Bond franchise.

U.K. studio facilities operator Pinewood Group, 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 film productions as Eon/MGM/Sony's Spectre, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Lucasfilm's Star Wars: Episode VII and Star Wars spinoff Rogue One, Universal's The Huntsman and MGM's Me Before You.

Pinewood, the largest provider of stage and studio space in Europe, which is also working on an expansion, recorded a six-month after-tax profit of £4.3 million ($6.5 million), compared with $5.7 million in the year-ago period, an increase of 13.2 percent.

Group revenue of $57.7 million slipped slightly from $58.1 million in the year-ago period. Film revenue rose 19 percent. "The increase is due to high stage utilization across existing facilities," the company said. TV revenue was also up.

"The first six months of the year have maintained the positive momentum reported in our full-year results in June 2015," said CEO Ivan Dunleavy. "Productions based at the studios during the period include the year's biggest films, Spectre and Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens."

He added: "The construction of phase one of the Pinewood expansion, designed to meet strong demand, is on schedule for completion in June 2016 and is within budget. Having taken full ownership of Shepperton Studios in the previous financial year, 100% of these earnings now accrue to the company, and we are able to review the existing master plan for development of this facility. The positive results reported today have continued into the second half and we are encouraged by the visibility we have for the remainder of the year and into 2016."

Crystal Amber, an activist U.K. investment fund that once owned more than a quarter of Pinewood and publicly tried to oust its chairman, recently once again acquired a stake in the company and has been pushing for higher financial returns.