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Pinewood's action hit by Hollywood dispute

01-Apr-2010 • Bond News

A Hollywood labour dispute and the economic downturn hit revenue and profits at Pinewood Shepperton, the Buckinghamshire-based film studio group that has hosted the Batman, James Bond and Carry On films - reports the FT.

Ivan Dunleavy, chief executive, said the now-resolved dispute between the US Screen Actors Guild and Hollywood film studios meant some producers delayed scheduling in the first half of 2009, while the credit crisis knocked lower-budget independent films.

"Big pictures were resilient, but the general economic climate made it harder for small independent producers to raise film finance," said Mr Dunleavy.

Pre-tax profit for the year to December 31 fell 25 per cent to £4.45m (£5.93m), on revenue down from £42.9m to £40.3m. Revenue from the group's film facilities - which include 32 film stages - fell from £24.2m to £22.7m. Television revenue was 11 per cent lower at £11.3m (£12.7m), highlighting the squeeze on TV budgets. Diluted earnings per share fell from 12p to 8.8p, but the group raised its final dividend from 2.3p to 2.4p, to give a total of 3.45p (3.35p).

The first stage of Pinewood Shepperton's planning application for Project Pinewood, a creative "cluster" for the film, TV and video game sectors, was refused in October. Mr Dunleavy said he would appeal.

Net debt at the year-end was £46.1m, down from £42.6m in December 2008.

The shares eased 1p to 151p.

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