The Street expected upbeat news about the year-end quarter that included the release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. But not this good: Lionsgate generated $37.8M in net income in the last three months of 2012, up from a $1.4M loss in the period the previous year, on revenues of $743.6M, +130.2%. Revenues far exceeded expectations for $707M. Reported earnings, at 28 cents a share, beat forecasts for 16 cents. And that number is deceptively low: It includes a $14.7M one-time expense from Lionsgate’s payoff of debt from its purchase of Summit Entertainment. Take that out, and earnings would have come to 39 cents a share. The company’s revenues from motion pictures came to $673.5M, +189% — including theatrical sales of $192.9M, up from $8.4M at the end of 2011. Home entertainment sales for movies and TV were up 23% to $233.0M. And television revenue was up fourfold to $98.8M. But television production revenue fell 22% to $70.1M: Lionsgate says that overseas sales of Anger Management, Mad Men (seasons three, four, and five) and Weeds (Season 8) were offset by “declines in domestic series licensing due to timing.” Lionsgate owns 51% of TV Guide Network and reports in its SEC filing that the cable channel lost $19M in the quarter, down from last year’s $11.9M loss, on revenues of $21M, -17%. The company also owns 31.1% of EPIX and says that the channel generated nearly $17M in net income, -6.2%, on revenues of $83.2M, +4.3%.
Lionsgate’s strong performance overall “will enable us to continue to focus on optimizing our capital structure and delveraging our balance sheet,” CEO Jon Feltheimer says. The company’s shares closed today at an all-time high of $19.74, up 3.2%. They rose an additional 1% in early after-hours trading. Lionsgate shares go for nearly 395 times expected earnings, an astronomically high price by that barometer.