Major U.S. exhibitor Cinemark reported strong top-line results in the fourth quarter, with total revenue hitting a record $798.6 million, up 6.5% from the same period in the previous year.
Earnings came in at 17 cents a share on a diluted basis, falling short of Wall Street’s consensus estimate of 44 cents. In the same period of 2017, earnings were 82 cents a share, with federal tax reform creating a $45 million benefit.
Investors greeted the results with enthusiasm, sending Cinemark shares up 3% in pre-market trading, to $38.
Attendance in the quarter ending December 31 increased 2.1% to 67.4 million ticket-buyers, with the average ticket price at $6.60. Concession revenues per patron increased 4.0% to $4.12.
“The resilience of the exhibition industry was again demonstrated in 2018 as the North American box office reached another record high of $11.9 billion, driven by sizable year-over-year attendance growth associated with outstanding studio film content,” CEO Mark Zoradi said. “And, through consistent execution of our strategic initiatives that focus on creating an extraordinary guest experience, Cinemark yet again outperformed industry results for the ninth time out of the past ten years with 7.7% domestic box office growth and a 6.3% increase in attendance.”
For the twelve months ended December 31, 2018, attendance increased 1.8% to 282.1 million patrons, average ticket price increased to $6.50 and concession revenues per patron increased 4.8% to $3.93.
Eric Handler, an analyst with MKM Partners, hailed the quarterly and full-year numbers in a note to clients. “Our big picture view remains intact as we see Cinemark as the best in class operator and a solid free cash flow generator with a strong balance sheet,” he wrote.
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