The Force is strong with Cineworld after Star Wars: Rogue One helps it to a record year

Lian Parsons
Star Wars: Rogue One was the cinema's top film last year
Star Wars: Rogue One was the cinema's top film last year (Source: Getty)

Cineworld announced a record year as over 100m customers visited its venues in 2016, boosted by the acquisition of five Empire cinemas.

The release of films like the highly anticipated Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them and Star Wars: Rogue One also helped bring in a blockbuster 2016.

Shares were flat at the time of writing, edging down 0.23 per cent to 649p.

The figures

For the year ending 31 December, Cineworld’s group revenue grew 13 per cent on a statutory basis and 8.7 per cent on a constant currency basis, to £797.8m.

Statutory underlying earnings (Ebitda) rose 13.2 per cent to £175.8m, from £155.3m. Underlying earnings per share increased 8.6 per cent to 19p from 17.5p.

Net cash generated from operating activities declined 9.5 percent to £150.1m from £165.9m.

Its profit after tax edged up 0.9 per cent to £82m from £81.3m the year before.

Why it’s interesting

The cinema chain had big shoes to fill after an impressive 2015, where the top three films (Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World) raked in £245.4m.

Last year, the firm said box office performance was “underpinned by a solid film slate” with the top three films (Star Wars: Rogue One, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them and Bridget Jones’s Baby) bringing in £149.4m.

Cineworld is continuing to expand and the acquisition of five Empire cinemas, including the iconic Empire Leicester Square, also provided a boost to results. It opened eight new sites and brought its total number of screens to 2,115, including the novelty 4DX screens. It also completed nine major refurbishments.

What Cineworld said

Mooky Greidinger, chief executive of Cineworld Group, said: "The results were driven by a focus on costs and operating efficiencies and the expansion of the estate. The group progressed well with our strategy, we opened eight new sites, split equally between the UK and the ROW, acquired five Empire cinemas, completed nine great refurbishments, six in the UK and three in the ROW, and introduced five new IMAX screens and thirteen 4DX screens."

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