Pinewood studios launches £30m share issue and calls action on its blockbuster £200m expansion
THE STUDIO home of James Bond, Harry Potter and Star Wars is going to the market to raise £30m through a share issue for an ambitious expansion plan, it said yesterday.
Pinewood studios plans to place eight million shares at 375p per share, with N+1 Singer acting as sole adviser and bookrunner.
The £30m will be on top of new bank facilities of up to £135m with Lloyds, RBS, HSBC and Barclays, it also announced yesterday.
The famous studio was given the go ahead to expand in June last year after a protracted battle with local residents and South Buckinghamshire Council.
The council had previously blocked the plans but communities secretary Eric Pickles personally intervened in the process, citing the government’s commitment to the UK film industry.
Pinewood has been the studio home of many of the world’s best known film franchises, including Superman and James Bond, of which the latest film, Spectre, is currently in production. Film makers have been drawn to the studio for the past 80 years due to its renowned expertise in special effects and post production.
The studio is also well known for specialising in some niche areas, playing host to more than 250 companies with expertise in make up, prosthetics and underwater filming.
More recently, it has benefited from government tax breaks aimed at making the UK a leading hub for film making. The incentive would appear to be working, with the British Film Institute claiming £1.5bn was spent on film production in the UK last year, representing a 35 per cent increase on 2013.
Most of this money came from Hollywood, said the institute, with a large portion of it being spent at Pinewood, which saw post-tax profits rise 130 per cent in the six months to September 2014.
The plan will see the studio expand its area by approximately 50 per cent, creating 3,000 new jobs and the ability to handle an additional two movies simultaneously.
Commenting on the transaction, Chris Naisby, finance director at Pinewood Group, said: “For almost 80 years, our studios have been home to some of the most iconic films and TV shows ever made. We are looking to remain at the forefront of the industry by expanding our facilities to meet demand.”
Despite the announcement, shares in the studio closed down 2.35 per cent.