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Pinewood Shepperton reports $8.3m profits

Annual report highlights the biggest film productions to shoot at Pinewood Shepperton’s UK studios, international growth, movie investments and its bid to expand capacity.

UK studio facilities group Pinewood Shepperton has reported “strong growth” over the 12 months to March 31 and has made a “positive start” to the new financial year.

Over the period, the company reported an operating profit of $8.3m (£5.4m), compared with $4.1m (£2.7m) the previous year, which was extended to 15 months after the company changed the start of its financial year from January to April.

Revenue stood at $85m (£55.6m), against $96.6m (£63m) for the 15-month period. Film revenue was $54m (£35.2m).

Operating profit excluding exceptional items for Pinewood’s latest year totalled $12.9m (£8.4m), compared with $20.2m (£13.2m). Gross profit was $27.3m (£17.8m) compared to $38.2m (£24.9m).

Film

The largest film production based at Pinewood Studios during the year was Disney’s Maleficent and at Shepperton Studios was Marvel sequel Thor: The Dark World.

Productions which used the company’s facilities and services during the year included Fast and Furious 6 (Universal), Jack Ryan (Paramount), The Muppets Again (Disney) and Kick-Ass 2 (Universal), plus additional filming for 47 Ronin (Universal), Gravity (Warner Bros.) and World War Z (Plan B Entertainment).

Notable sound post production work completed during the period included the UK’s first Dolby Atmos mix of Danny Boyle’s most recent project Trance (Pathe/Fox)and also of Alfonso Cuaron’s sci-fi thriller Gravity (Warner Bros.).

A new product was launched during the period called Digital Production Services (DPS); the management of the data generated from 2D and 3D digital film shoots on-set and on location. The inaugural client was Thor: The Dark World.

International

International revenues for the year included within film, principally representing sales and marketing fees, were $1.53m (£1m) compared to $1.83m (£1.2m) for the 15-month period.   

In the US, post year end, the company announced a new joint venture called Pinewood Atlanta, which will work to initially develop 288 acres of land south of Atlanta, Georgia, into studio facilities for the production of film, television, music and video games.

Construction has commenced on the Pinewood Atlanta Studio build with completion scheduled in mid-2014.

In China, the Group has entered into a 50:50 joint venture agreement with private media group Seven Stars Media. The jv, to be called Song Lin, initially will assess a number of business proposals in China’s entertainment market in China.  Under the terms of the joint venture, Pinewood will provide its expertise with limited capital investment. 

Pinewood Shepperton has a sales and marketing agreement with Pinewood Toronto Studios, which included Carrie (MGM/Screen Gems) and RoboCop (MGM/Sony) during the year.

Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios is in the final phase of construction with stages and associated facilities due for completion in July 2013, when film stages, workshops and offices will be operational.  

TV studios and post production facilities went live following completion of the technical installation and systems integration at year end.  

Construction of the water tank, offices and ancillary space at Pinewood Indomina Studios in the Dominican Republic has been completed.  

By the middle of 2014 the company expects 53,000 sq ft of film stages will be completed along with workshops, adding a further 90,000 sq ft of film and television facilities.

Media investment

Media Investment revenue for the year was $13.64m (£8.9m) compared to $2.15m (£1.4m) in the 15-month period.

Pinewood Productions’ (formerly known as Pinewood Films) co-investment of selected UK independent films saw three further films announced during the year, bringing the total to five, namely: A Fantastic Fear of Everything (Pinewood Films/Keel Films), Last Passenger (Pinewood Films/Future Films/BFI /Pathe Pictures), Belle (Pinewood Films/DJ Films/BFI/CinemaNX/Bankside), Dom Hemingway (Pinewood Films/Recorded Picture Co/CinemaNX/Hanway Films) and Camera Trap (Pinewood Productions/Pinewood Pictures/GasWorks Media).

Studio expansion

The Pinewood Studios Development Framework (PSDF) is a $300m (£200m) proposed long term scheme designed to address increasing global demand for capacity in the UK and deliver growth for the next 15 years.

It comprises a substantial expansion of the existing Pinewood Studios by adding a total of 100,000 sq m of new facilities, including 15 studios and stages, workshops, production offices and streetscapes for filming. 

Once complete, the company claims this would help grow the UK’s creative industries, promote growth and create an estimated 3,100 new jobs.

South Bucks District Council Planning Committee rejected the application in mid-May.

Pinewood Shepperton lodged an appeal against the decision on 31 May and a public inquiry will start on 19 November 2013.

Total costs incurred since the inception of PSDF to 31 March 2013 were $2.76m (£1.8m).

Outlook

Looking ahead, Pinewood Shepperton chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said: “The trend for rising demand for the studios facilities, especially in film, has continued.

“The company has made a positive start to the new financial year. Since 1 April 2013, the company has been experiencing high levels of utilisation in television, playing host to a number of productions and several film productions have contracted stages.

“Our customers are concerned that the company has sufficient capacity to meet their needs… The need for further, effective infrastructure to meet demand for the UK is a priority.”

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