Oz’s Village sees profits climbing

Net up 16.4% on year to $42 mil

SYDNEY — Riding on the back of strong growth in exhibition, radio and production, Australia’s Village Roadshow Ltd. boosted net profits by 16.4% to a record $A70.1 million ($42 million) in the year ending in June.

The bullish result, on a 12.5% hike in sales to $265.2 million, was achieved despite a decline at its three Queensland theme parks, which were affected by the downturn in Asian tourism.

Village Roadshow chairman John Kirby sought to allay investors’ fears that the company would issue more shares to fund expansion by ruling out further capital raisings in the next three or four years.

In the past 12 months, VRL added 271 screens to its empire, which now includes 1,025 screens in 11 territories. An additional 240 screens are slated to open before June 30, 1999. Among the revelations in VRL’s results announcement, the company said:

  • Despite the economic crisis in parts of Asia, ticket sales at its circuits in Thailand and Malaysia are up over last year; its first multiplex in Seoul, South Korea, is doing excellent business; and its 17-screen megaplex in Taipei, Taiwan, boasts the highest admissions of any Village cinema in the world.

  • Roadshow Film Distributors was the Australian market leader in the first half of this year, commanding a 39% share.
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