Pinewood Shepperton profits are down for the first half of 2010, but the company said it is expecting a strong end to 2010 thanks to solid film production business.
For the first half of the year, revenue was £19m, down just over 6% from the first half of 2009; operating profit was £3.2m, down about 3%.
Film production revenue fell by 8.5% to £10.8 million, despite welcoming productions including Martin Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret in recent months. Pinewood said that was because “a number of production companies delayed the start of principal photography in the final weeks of the first half causing a small shift in comparable film revenues.” The studio is, however, bullish on 3D projects such as Hugo Cabret, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and Clash of the Titans filming in 3D which means more use of studio facilities.
With TV revenues down, Pinewood noted: “the ability to interchange the use of facilities means that television studios at Pinewood are currently being utilised for film production, limiting the impact of reduced television revenues…Overall, total Company revenues for 2010 are now anticipated to exceed market expectations.”
This news comes as Pinewood Shepperton large shareholder, activist investment group Crystal Amber, had been calling on chairman Michael Grade to stand down.
Ivan Dunleavy, Chief Executive, said in a statement: “Overall revenues for 2010 are anticipated to show strong growth ahead of market expectations. The interim results demonstrate the strength of Pinewood’s unique business. We go into the second half in good shape with growing revenues, the result of confirmed film business won in a highly competitive international market.”
Looking ahead, the company noted that its businesses in Canada, Malaysia and Germany would be fully operational in 2013 which would boast incremental revenue streams.
The company is confident on film prospects for the rest of the year. Its statement today read: “The Company has significant visibility for the remainder of 2010, having won a high level of contracted film business in today’s very competitive international market. This strong Company performance in film looks set to continue into the beginning of 2011.”
Pinewood also noted that it provided digital content services to films such as Eagle of the Ninth, Never Let Me Go and Route Irish; it is also working on its deal to digitise and preserve StudioCanal’s library, working on films such as Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Railway Children.
Pinewood Shepperton also has a long-term contract with Disney Character Voices Internationsl, working on international language version of films including How to Train Your Dragon and The Karate Kid.
In other areas of the business, new tenants including Take 2 Lighting are in the Media Park; with occupancy at 88% compared to 90% for the first half of 2009.
The Project Pinewood work-live development continues to push ahead with its needed planning; next month, there will be a public inquiry about whether part of the site application should be as a town or village green; the Project Pinewood Inquiry will start in April 2011. Total costs of the project to June 30, 2010 stand at £5.2m, only £400,000 having been spent since the start of the year.