Pinewood Shepperton today released its preliminary results for the year ended Dec 31 2006. It was a robust year for the company, with turnover up 22% at $80m (£40.7m) and operating profit 'before exceptional items' up 70% at $17.9m (£9.1m).

The company's increasing diversification into television also seems to be bearing fruit, with revenues up 32%, at $23.2m (£11.8m).

In a statement, chief executive Ivan Dunleavy predicted that 2007 would be 'a busy year' for the studios. Last September, Pinewood Shepperton entered into a joint venture with Morley Fund Management.

Dunleavy stated that the new 50-50 joint venture, named Shepperton Studios Property Partnership, will allow the company 'to commence development of the Shepperton site which, over time, will bring yet further growth and stability to our revenue streams.'

Speaking to the BBC this morning, Dunleavy acknowledged that UK studios face increasing competition for international production but insisted that Pinewood Shepperton was 'very well-placed to respond to those competitive pressures. We have tremendous skills and talent in the UK and a great depth of infrastructure.'

No further details have emerged of what caused the fire that destroyed the 007 stage last July. 'That matter is still being investigated,' Dunleavy said, but pointed out that the new 007 stage is now 'up and running and that it is bigger and better than before.'

The replacement stage was completed at a cost of approximately $15.7m (£8m) and handed over for operational use this month, 24 weeks after commencement of construction by the contractor.

As to the question of whether the next Bond film will shoot at Pinewood, Dunleavy noted that Pinewood Shepperton has 'a long heritage of supplying services to the Bond production' and said the company would 'hope to be able to do so in the future.' However, he conceded that this was 'a question for the producers of the film.'

Dunleavy struck an optimistic note about the effect the new UK film tax credit (which received legal status in January 2007) will have in luring international movies to the UK.

Asked whether there was any evidence that the tax credit had yet had an impact, Dunleavy pointed to the increase in Pinewood Shepperton's film revenues in 2006. He didn't mention which films shooting at Pinewood-Shepperton are currently using the credit.

Films using facilities at Pinewood Shepperton in 2006 included Atonement, Casino Royale, Children Of Men, Stardust, Eragon, Bourne Ultimatum, The Golden Compass, Inkheart, Fred Claus, United 93 and Sweeney Todd.