U.K. facilities in black

Pinewood's operating profit up 13%

LONDON — Pinewood Shepperton, owner of the U.K.’s two largest studios, reported its first yearly results since its flotation, showing robust figures for a year in which U.K.-based film production was hit by the weak dollar and tax clampdowns.

Operating profit increased 13% to £12.9 million ($24.8 million) for 2004, with sales up 3% to $73.9 million.

Movies such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Batman Begins” and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” ensured the studio’s film stage division held its own with flat revenues of $41.3 million.

The TV and sound services division increased sales by 10% to $20.5 million.

But Pinewood Shepperton chairman Michael Grade said a production slowdown in 2005 has hit the studios’ performances.

“The government has reiterated its commitment to U.K. film by extending the supportive fiscal regime in the recent budget,” Grade said. “Our performance in the first half of 2005 will be adversely affected by the uncertainty that has surrounded the issue, and we are delighted that much of this uncertainty has now been removed.”

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