Cinemark revs dip as ticket sales slow

Net profit drops from $14.1 mil last year to $8.4 mil in 2Q

NEW YORK — Drooping second-quarter theatrical admissions took their toll on the top line of fourth-ranked U.S. exhibitor Cinemark USA. The Plano, Texas-based exhib Monday reported revs down 1.7% to $249 million for the three months ended June 30.

Cinemark, which controls 3,044 screens in the U.S. and Canada, saw its net profit drop sharply from $14.1 million last year to $8.4 million in the second quarter of 2003, due in part to the early retirement of debt.

Company nevertheless showed a healthy operating margin of 22%, which is on par with rivals Regal and AMC.

“The fact (that) their revenues were off a bit is consistent with (the) industry, which saw admissions off by around 5% compared to 2002 industrywide,” noted Stewart Halpern, of RBC Capital Markets.

Exhib, heavily invested in economically depressed Latin America and the U.K., said it is focused on reducing and refinancing its debt load and improving its balance sheet for future growth.

As of June 30, Cinemark said it opened two new theaters with 20 screens and has signed commitments to build seven new theaters with 57 screens by the end of the year.