Pinewood profits, revenue fall

Film production revenues fall 8.5%

LONDON — Pinewood Shepperton’s net profit fell 8.7% from £1.3 million ($2.1 million) to $1.9 million in the first half of the year.

Profit before tax at the studio stood at $2.3 million, down 11.5% from $2.6 million, while operating profits before exceptional items fell 12% to $29.3 million.

Revenue dropped 6% to $29.3 million. Film production revenues dropped 8.5% to $16.6 million, but Pinewood attributes this to production companies delaying the start of principal photography in the final weeks of the first half of the year.

And it said that while TV revenues were down 6% at $7.9 million, this was “reflecting the trend caused by the difficult commissioning environment.”

Despite the dips, chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said the overall revenues for the year are “anticipated to show strong growth ahead of market expectations.”

This year Martin Scorsese’s 3D pic “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” lensed at the studio, while Disney’s “John Carter of Mars” and Ruby Films’ “Jane Eyre” have also used the studio’s facilities.

The falls come after asset management company Crystal Amber on Tuesday called on board chairman Michael Grade to step down in June over the studio’s poor performance.

When Crystal Amber called on Grade to step down at the annual shareholders meeting, the chairman refused, insisting that he had the support of other shareholders including Peel Holdings, which then had a 26.6% share in the group. But since then, Crystal Amber has upped its stake from 18% to 27%, making it the largest shareholder in the company.

Richard Bernstein, director at Crystal Amber, said the company had increased its shares in the studio because it continues to have faith in the brand.

“We’re convinced there is tremendous value to be unlocked,” he said. “It’s an iconic brand and is still a company that is generating profit. It has a strong asset base and the scope to recover its profits back to what they were in 2004.”

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