Lionsgate has relocated its international sales operation to London, in a sign of the growing importance of international markets to leading film companies.

As part of the move, the company has already relocated several key international executives, including Motion Picture Group evps of international sales Wendy Reeds and Crystal Bourbeau, and is in the process of hiring several additional executives for the London office as well.

Lionsgate’s international sales headquarters will be based at the company’s Lionsgate UK offices. The move is expected to pave the way for more UK productions and European co-productions

Lionsgate’s slate includes blockbuster franchises The Hunger Games, The Expendablesand Divergent as well as hit TV series Mad Men, Nurse Jackie and Anger Management.

The move allows the studio to better servce its numerous output partnerships. Lionsgate International recently expanded output agreements with Studiocanal and Tele Munchen Group in Germany, Roadshow Pictures in Australia, Nordisk Film in Scandinavia and Belga Films in Benelux as well as a new output arrangement with Leone Film Group in Italy

The mini-major also recently announced a content partnership with The Alibaba Group in China.

“The relocation of our international sales headquarters accelerates our evolution into a truly global organisation and brings us closer to our overseas markets,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.

“The UK government has been an extremely supportive partner in facilitating a move that positions us to capitalise even more fully on tremendous growth opportunities in the global marketplace.”

Testifying to Lionsgate’s close ties with the UK government, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne commented on the move: “I am delighted that Lionsgate will establish its international sales headquarters in the UK. This is testament that Britain is open for business.

“As Chancellor I have been determined that we back UK’s brilliant creative industries which is why we have invested in skills and training as well as providing tax relief for films, high-end TV, animation, video games and regional theatre.”

The move confirms London’s standing as an increasingly important gateway for North American film companies eager to tap into lucrative international markets.

Warner Bros Leavesden is the only studio-owned production facility outside the US while companies such as Canadian powerhouse eOne continue to expand their international and local teams in London.

The capital has seen a boom in significant international sales companies in recent years with the likes of Mister Smith, Embankment Films and eOne International all opening for business in the capital.

Recently closed Focus Features International was the only major US sales offshoot to operate out of the city of late.