Australia's Amalgamated Holdings was the latest company with exhibition interests to confirm that the cinema business has recovered from the doldrums of 18 months ago.

The owner of the Greater Union and Birch Carroll and Coyle cinema circuits recorded a 67% growth in net profit after tax to $9m (A$17.5m) for the six months to December 31.

"The outstanding success of Harry Potter led the turnaround in cinema exhibition, supported by Moulin Rouge, Bridget Jones's Diary, Shrek and Swordfish, whilst local production and increased release print demand drove significant earnings growth at Atlab Film Laboratories," said AHL managing director David Seargeant in a statement. "Particularly satisfying was the performance of our German circuit with box office growth of 44% over the previous year and annual per capita attendance growing to 2.2 from the previously stalled 1.8."

AHL's exhibition division directly manages 457 screens in Australia. It also owns part of Village Roadshow, as well as a chain of hotels, ski resorts and cruise ships, all of which were adversely affected by the collapse of Ansett, one of Australia's two major airlines.