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Lionsgate Earnings, Revenues Below Analyst Estimates

Lionsgate has reported earnings of $49.2 million, or 35 cents a share, for its fourth quarter ended March 31, and an 8% decline in revenues.

The figures, reported after the market closed, came in below consensus estimates of 40 cents a share. Shares of Lionsgate slid 6.6%, falling $1.97 to $27.56, in after-hours trading.

The quarterly profits declined 70% from earnings  of $163 million in the year-ago period, which saw an $86.7 million income tax benefit.

Quarterly revenues for the studio were $721.9 million, down 8% from the year-ago quarter’s $785.7 million in 2013.

Lionsgate’s major release during the recent quarter was “Divergent,” which opened March 21. But the majority of the $266 million worldwide gross for the franchise starter came after the quarter ended on March 31.

Lionsgate’s other releases during the quarter — “I, Frankenstein” and “The Legend of Hercules” — generated modest returns.

For the fiscal year, Lionsgate reported earnings of $152 million, or $1.11 per share, down 34% from $232.1 million, or $1.73 a share, in the prior year.

Fiscal year revenue declined 3% to $2.63 billion from $2.71 billion. Lionsgate said the decline was due to a domestic theatrical slate of 13 wide releases compared to 19 in the prior year, partially offset by revenue gains in TV production and international businesses.

Lionsgate said it set all-time highs in adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income in the fiscal year, citing “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Now You See Me” as well as strong results from its library and lower theatrical marketing costs. The company also cited improved income from Epix, its partnership with Viacom and MGM, and improved performance at TVGN, its 50/50 partnership with CBS.

It also cited decreased interest expense and a lower effective tax rate compared to the prior year.

“Our strong operating momentum, the diversity of our portfolio of businesses and the continued enhancement of our capital structure all contributed to another year of outstanding financial results,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.  “The trajectory of our business, the depth of our content pipelines and the ongoing generation of predictable income from our film franchises, television properties and filmed entertainment library continue to give us excellent long-term visibility.”

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