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Pinewood Group Considers Sale in Light of ‘Robust Growth’

LONDON — Europe’s largest production facilities company, Pinewood Group, which has housed pics such as “Spectre” and the latest “Star Wars” franchise, is mulling over a potential sale as part of the company’s strategy for growing the business.

The company said that following a period of “robust growth” in film revenues it was now “appropriate to evaluate alternative opportunities to maximize value for the company’s shareholders and to build on Pinewood’s success to date.” The board said that it believed “there is a requirement for a funding strategy to be in place to fully realize the company’s future potential.”

Pinewood has hired Rothschild to carry out a “strategic review of the overall capital base and structure, which could include the sale of the company,” it said. The company’s current market value sits at £250 million ($362.8 million), and share prices spiked nearly 18% in early trading following news of the potential sale.

Despite booming revenues for the company, which has also been home to Hollywood pics such as “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Cinderella,” Pinewood said that while last year’s share placing to raise funds for the expansion of its main site in Buckinghamshire, U.K., had been a success, it didn’t result in enough new shareholders.

This lack of a more diversified shareholder base has, it said, “continued to stifle liquidity in the shares and has prevented the company from achieving its aim of obtaining a main market listing.”

Pinewood’s largest shareholder is Brit real estate, transport and infrastructure investment company Peel Holdings, which reduced its stake in the company from 58% to 39% as part of the share placing that took place in April last year.

“We believe Pinewood has the potential to build on the strong performance of the last few years to grow further both in the U.K. and internationally,” said Pinewood chief exec Ivan Dunleavy. “The board is now looking to identify the best ways to create the appropriate capital structure to allow the company to realize its goals in the best interests of shareholders.”

Phase one of the studio’s expansion plan, which will add five new soundstages and additional facilities totalling 300,000 sq ft, is skedded for completion in June 2016 within budget.

The company indicated that this “funding strategy” was needed to realize the company’s future potential, including phases two and three of its expansion.

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