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Exhib woes impact Village Roadshow

Profits up just 1.4% from previous year

SYDNEY — The global exhibition downturn is hurting Australia’s Village Roadshow — and the company says it isn’t expecting an immediate improvement in that sector’s fortunes.

Village Roadshow announced Tuesday a profit after taxes and before extraordinary charges of $A76.5 million ($46 million) for the year ended June 30, up just 1.4% on the previous year.

Net profit after extraordinary charges was $45.3 million, an increase of 178% as the company absorbed a large after-tax extraordinary-charge loss in the prior year.

The result reflects an outstanding contribution from radio, sound returns from theme parks and production and a poor result from exhibition, the company said.

Recent initiatives include the closure of the exhib group’s London head office, the amalgamation of the U.K. offices of Village and Warner Bros. and the sale of its 50% stake in Golden Harvest’s Hong Kong circuit.

Managing director Graham Burke said, “We have faced up to the reality of a worldwide problem in cinema exhibition and are determined to improve the return on funds employed.”

VRL, whose L.A.-based Village Roadshow Pictures co-produced “The Matrix” with WB, has booked its first profits from the film — just $A5 million ($3 million).

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