Cineworld breaks out the popcorn as box office hits send profits soaring

Cineworld has reported a 24 per cent growth in pre-tax profits and a 22 per cent jump in group revenues in the first half of the year (release).

Pre-tax profits rose to £16.5m from £13.3m in the same period the year before, while group revenues rose to £201.6m from £165.4m. Basic earnings per share rose 17.6 per cent to 8.0p.

The top ten highest grossing films accounted for over 40 per cent of the cinema’s total box office – as it did the year before. In particular, Les Miserables, Iron Man 3, The Croods and Star Trek Into Darkness were particularly successful.

The average ticket price rose by 4.7 per cent to £5.39, partly due to inflation, and partly from a higher proportion of 3D films (representing 30.5 per cent of its box office compared to 18.5 per cent in the first half of 2012).

Chief executive Stephen Wiener said he was “pleased” with the results, saying they demonstrated the cinema is a “resilient investment in challenging economic times with a number of growth opportunities”.

We have maintained our position as the leading cinema operator in both the UK and the UK and Ireland combined. Since the end of the first half we also surpassed important milestones for both our Unlimited and MyCineworld schemes, with now over 350,000 Unlimited subscribers and 3.0 million MyCineworld members.

The current trading performance, together with a reduction in net debt since the end of 2012, means that the Group remains in a sound financial position to fund continued growth. Against this backdrop, we have again increased the interim dividend to our shareholders.

There is a strong film line up for the second half including key titles: "Despicable Me 2"; "Monsters University"; and "The Wolverine". In the third quarter there are weaker comparatives due to the impact of the London Olympics on scheduling last year. By contrast, there is a tougher fourth quarter comparative due to the phenomenal success of Skyfall.

The strength of the film line up in the second half, coupled with our solid first half performance, underpins our confidence that we are on track with our plans for the full year.

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