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Village Roadshow reports net loss

Co. upbeat about 2007 prospects

Village Roadshow Thursday announced a net loss of A$35.1 million ($27.5 million) on revenues down from $154.8 million to $136.6 million for the year ended June 30.

But it remained upbeat about prospects for 2007, which include growing its film division.

Chairman John Kirby, speaking at the group’s annual meeting, blamed the loss on restructuring involving the sale of exhibs in 16 territories including New Zealand, Blighty and South Korea, and said the group was now well positioned for the long term.

“It is not our practice to give forecasts,” Kirby added. “However, going forward, we will be implementing growth strategies in all our business units.”

Village Roadshow said it would ramp up its film production division from eight to about 12 features per year. Its 2007 slate includes “Ocean’s 13” and “Get Smart.”

Kirby also talked up the current slate of films including “Happy Feet,” which broke the $100 million barrier in 10 days, and the group hopes its continued success will lift revenues in the current year.

Kirby said cash flow in the group was strong and it hoped to return to profitability and pay a dividend in the near future; Vil-lage posted a net profit of $38.7 million in the previous year.

Group said it would also retain control of radio asset Austereo, which is tipped as a takeover target when the government re-laxes its rules on foreign ownership in the New Year.

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