UK studio group Pinewood Shepperton has confirmed it is seeking to float this year.

The group aims to refinance all its current debt and create a capital structure for further growth. 3i, the venture capital company which bankrolled Michael Grade and Ivan Dunleavy's purchase of Pinewood from Rank in February 2000, and their purchase of Shepperton a year later, aims to realise some or all of its investment. Cazenove has been appointed as sponsor for the float.

"Pinewood Shepperton plays a major part in the international film production industry, hosting movies from the major Hollywood studios and the independents," said Grade. "The demand for both film and television content continues to grow, offering us many opportunities to increase our business."

Pinewood Shepperton, which combines 36 stages across 200 acres, recorded a turnover last year - a record year for UK production levels - of $72.2m (£37.9m). Operating profit was $20.2m (£10.9m).

"This is an important next step in our development," said Dunleavy. "We look forward to growing our core activities and capitalising on our expertise. We are a leading provider of studio and film related services in the European market and there are plenty of opportunities to expand."