Pinewood Shepperton hasposted strong figures for its first interim results since floating in May.

The film studio combineposted pro-forma profits of £3.8m for the six months to June, up 31.6% on thesame period last year. Studio facilities' sales rose more than 10%, hitting£11.3 m, on the back of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Batmanfilm Intimidation Game and the fourth Harry Potter production.

Operating profits oncontinuing operations, excluding exceptional costs from the IPO, rose from£5.8m to £6.7 m.

Star Wars is also making a return to Shepperton, with live scenes for the last in the sci-fi series - The Return Of The Sith - being shot at the Middlesex studio.

"Pinewood Sheppertonperformed slightly ahead of expectations for the first half of 2004, reflectingstrong sales of studio facilities," said chief executive Ivan Dunleavy. "In thesecond half to date the company is performing in line with expectations acrossall business lines and the directors view the company's prospects for thecurrent financial year with confidence."

The company, which is valuedat £91m, is now to start building an underwater filming stage at Pinewood andextend workshops at Shepperton.