Cineworld claims a market-leading box office share of 26.2% (EDI Rentrak) in the UK in 2010; chain negotiating a $273m (£170m) facility with banks.

Cinema chain Cineworld has announced its results for 2010, with group revenue up 4.8% on 2009 at $551.4m (£342.8m) and UK box office takings up 4.1% at $379.3m (£235.8m). UK admissions fell slightly from 48.2m in 2009 to 47.2m in 2010.

Despite challenges posed by the world cup and bad weather in December, the company’s increase in profits was largely down to an increased number of releases - 25 in 2010, compared to 13 in 2009, 3D ticket premiums and a general ticketing price increase.

In 2010 almost 28% of market box office was from 3D, up from approximately 12.0% in 2009.

The company’s screen advertising revenue was up almost 21%.

In a letter to employees Chairman Anthony Bloom announced that the company is currently negotiating terms and conditions for a new $273m (£170m), five-year facility with a group of banks, with a deal expected to be signed in the near future. The funds will be used to facilitate the company’s expansion plans.

In summer 2010, Cineworld signed a 25-year lease to operate the multiplex cinema at The O2 in London and another 25-year lease for a new nine screen cinema at the Wembley City retail and leisure development, scheduled to open in 2013.

Last year the company also added Martina King and Rick Senat as independent non-executive directors on the Cineworld board and announced a partnership with Arts Alliance to hasten its digital rollout. Over 50% of the company’s estate is digital.

Commenting on the results, Stephen Wiener, Chief Executive Officer of Cineworld Group plc, said: “We are delighted to have seen continued growth in revenues and profits in 2010 despite sometimes challenging circumstances. Our strategically eventful year saw progress in rolling out digital screens across our estate, and continued expansion, including into the high profile O2 Centre. To close 2010 as the leading cinema operator by total box office is the crowning achievement of a successful year, and I am pleased to announce an increase of 11.7% in EPS.”

Cineworld is the second largest cinema operator in the UK with 801 screens.