Rising attendance and costs controls did the trick once again for a major exhibition chain. Carmike generated $3.2M in net income in Q1, up from an $18.2M loss in the period last year, on revenues of $130.8M, up 36.5%.The revenue number cleanly beat the $124.5M that analysts expected. And earnings at 25 cents a share contrasts with the Street’s expectation of a penny. Total attendance leaped 29.6% to 12.2M while the average ticket price was up 4.7% to $6.84. Concession sales per person were up 19 cents to $3.91 — a new quarterly high for the chain. CEO David Passman crowed that Carmike’s attendance gain “was well ahead of the industry increase of 24%.” The company has tried to weed out underperforming venues and “while we are not done, we can now focus on transitioning into a growth mode,” he says. Analysts likely will want to know more about its plans as the industry prepares for a consolidation wave; many small chains that couldn’t afford to switch to digital projection are talking about selling before Hollywood studios only offer releases on hard drives or via satellite. On April 11 Carmike raised $56M by issuing 4.6M shares of it common stock at $13 a share. The company also has restructured its debt to give it more flexibility.
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