Cinema chain earnings increased 80% in 2006

LONDON — Pan-European cinema chain Kinepolis Group Intl. has announced healthy 2006 results, driven by increased cinema attendance and higher margins.

The Brussels-based company announced Friday an 80% jump in profit for the year to E14.6 million ($19.1 million) on revenues up 9.5% to $276 million.

Admissions for the whole chain — which has theaters in Belgium, France, Spain, Poland and Switzerland — grew by 6% to 23.9 million.

The biggest growth was in France, where ticket sales jumped 10%. Spanish admissions dipped by 2%.

The group said the jump in admissions had been driven mainly by hits such as “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “The Da Vinci Code” and “Ice Age 2,” as well as a handful of local successes such as “Friends Forever” in France and French-speaking Belgium.

Breaking down revenue, the percentage share of ticket sales dipped slightly to 61% compared with 62% in 2005.

This was to the benefit of drinks and snacks, which accounted for 21% of revenue compared with 20% in 2005. Kiosk sales grew by 12% due to increased prices and customers spending more.

The group said 2007 promised to be an equally successful year thanks to releases in a slew of franchises, including “Spider-Man 3,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “Shrek the Third,” “Ocean’s 13″ and “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”

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