Cineplex revs up 5.6%

NEW YORK — Cineplex Odeon Corp. reported Thursday flat earnings for the third quarter before a $5.3 million one-time charge for closure of theaters increased its net loss 145% to $7.1 million.

Cineplex said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $17.5 million, even with a year earlier, on 5.6% higher revenue of $150 million. Cineplex stock was unchanged Thursday at $1.31.

Cineplex execs were pleased with the result, achieved in a quarter that CEO Allen Karp described as “disappointing for the overall exhibition industry.” Most of the major exhibs reported lower attendance on a same-screen basis (adjusted for new screen openings).

Cineplex spokesman Howard Lichtman said he did not have same-screen figures available. He noted Cineplex outperformed the rest of the industry on a box office revenue basis, however.

“The industry was probably up 1%-2% and we were up 4.3%,” Lichtman said, partly because of the strength of the business in Canada.

The one-time charge relates to the closure of three theaters with 13 screens. Cineplex has been closing older theaters while it builds newer complexes.

“This bodes well for the long-term success of the corporation,” Karp said, noting that Cineplex plans to open 16 new theaters with 165 screens in North America this quarter.

At the same time, Cineplex is also planning to merge with Sony Corp.’s Loews Theatres in a deal expected to close next year.

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