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Cineplex back in black

Cineplex Odeon Corp. posted its first operating profit since 1987 and cut its net losses by 82% in 1993 as the Toronto exhibitor continues to restructure its way back to health.

In the quarter, Cineplex turned a slight profit after losing money in the comparable period last year.

“Our restructuring program has had a positive impact on operating results and has resulted in our return to operating profitability,” Cineplex prez/CEO Allen Karp said in a statement.

One big reason for the improved bottom line is Cineplex’s Project Popcorn effort to boost concession sales. The company said its bulk candy sales and mobile food cart have been well-received by patrons.

Cineplex also has carved away at its huge debt, which translates to bottom-line improvement.

For the quarter, Cineplex earned $ 59,000 (0 cents), compared to a loss of $ 12.7 million (14 cents) in the like period a year ago. Revenue was $ 129.4 million, up from $ 125.9 million.

For the year, the company lost $ 7.4 million (7 cents), compared to a loss of $ 41.3 million (48 cents) in 1992. However, Cineplex took a one-time $ 7 million charge in the third quarter of 1993 after getting out of a money-losing real estate investment in Toronto. Operating income was $ 969,000 for the year, compared to an operating loss of $ 39.7 million in 1992. Revenue was $ 546.2 million, up from $ 518.7 million.

Because Cineplex carries a heavy debt load, it chose to focus on cash flow, which climbed to $ 38.7 million in 1993, vs. an outflow of $ 1.7 million in 1992 .

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