Delays hold back Pinewood profits

Revenue upswing halted

LONDON — Pinewood Shepperton has issued a profit warning after being hit by delays to several upcoming film projects.

The group, which owns the U.K.’s two largest movie studios, said “a number of significant film productions” are contracted to start shooting late in 2007.

But because “the bulk” of these “will commence filming some weeks later than previously expected,” most of the revenues will fall into the first half of 2008. As a result, film revenues in the second half of 2007 will be flat, instead of showing the previously predicted upswing.

Analysts swiftly revised their forecasts for Pinewood Shepperton, with the studio’s own broker Cazenove cutting its profit target by 13% to £8.5 million ($11.3 million). The share price, which has been climbing steadily since March, fell back 5% on the news.

With film revenues flat, overall sales will show only a small increase in 2007, thanks to growth in TV revenues.

Pinewood CEO Ivan Dunleavy commented, “The timing of film production is always a major variable for our film services business, and our current outlook for the second half reflects this.”

“I am pleased to say that as expected we have a number of major productions which are already contracted to use the studios in the latter part of this year. With more than six months to go, our forward contracted position for the first half of 2008 is particularly strong.”

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