U.K., Germany up; Spain, Italy falls

After a slow start to 2012, Europe’s largest exhibitor Odeon UCI Cinemas announced mixed results for the second quarter, with attendance bouncing back in the U.K. and Germany, but continuing to fall in Spain and Italy.

Ticket sales for the group were up 9.3% to 18.2 million, boosted by the acquisition of several new sites. On a like-for-like basis, attendance was up by just 0.8%.

The group posted a 9% rise in sales to £164.7 million ($258 million), but on a like-for-like basis, sales grew just 1.5% to $236 million. For the first six months of 2012, sales scraped up by 0.6% to $517 million.

The group’s net loss improved by 43% to $31.3 million for the second quarter, and by 33% to $59.4 million for the half year.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization were up 21% to $21.8 million.

Overall market attendance was up 11% in the U.K. and up 3% in Germany for the April-June period, but dropped 4% apiece in Spain and Italy.

“Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” drove a strong uptick across all territories in April, but June saw sharp declines across the board, thanks to unusually warm weather and competition from the Euro soccer championships.

The company is predicting a further dip in the third quarter, due to the Olympics and the absence of strong releases to match last year’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” but is anticipating a rebound in the final quarter, with the arrival of “The Hobbit” and “Skyfall.”

Odeon UCI has 2,140 screens in 230 sites across seven territories, more than twice the size of its nearest pan-European exhib rivals. Its market share grew by 1% across all its territories to 16.4% during the second quarter, thanks to the impact of its recent acquisitions.

The company noted its concern about the economic situation in Spain and Italy, and also about the impact of impending increases in sales tax on ticket prices in Spain.

Odeon UCI completed the digitization of all its cinemas during the second quarter. It also opened four more of its proprietary large-format screens, dubbed iSens, bringing its total to 13.

Odeon also has 12 digital Imax screens in the U.K., and one apiece in Spain and Italy, making it the largest Imax exhibitor in Western Europe, but it is now prioritizing its own iSens format for installations outside the U.K.

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