Kinepolis sees 30% profit hike

European exhib sees B.O. up 2.1%

LONDON — European cinema group Kinepolis reported a 30% increase in profit to €36.5 million ($47.5 million) in 2011, with sales up 6.1 % to €253.7 million ($329.8 million).

The Belgium-based exhibitor, which also operates multiplexes in France, Spain, Switzerland and Poland, logged 21.3 million admissions last year, just 0.3% down from 2010.

But box office revenue was up 2.1% to €149.1 million ($193.8 million), thanks to higher ticket prices. Concessions and screen advertising were also up.

A Kinepolis statement said this revenue growth reflected an improvement in the customer experience from its investment in digitization, remodelling its theaters, and improving the food and drink on offer.

Growth was not uniform across the territories in which Kinepolis operates. The Spanish business suffered from that country’s economic woes, with ticket sales falling 7.9% to 4.2 million in the group’s three sites. Belgian admissions grew 2.8% from 11 sites, while French ticket sales ticked up 0.5%.

Admissions across Europe performed strongest in the final quarter of 2011, after lagging significantly behind 2010 in the first nine months of the year. France and Belgium were buoyed by strong local movies, such as “Intouchables” and “Rundskop,” while the local connection of “The Adventures of Tintin” and “The Smurfs” also helped to push those films into the top five performers for Kinepolis.

Despite a larger number of 3D releases, total 3D ticket sales were down in 2011, with no blockbuster to match the 3D success of “Avatar” in 2010.

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