Pinewood Chief Says Brexit Effect On Pound “Undoubtedly Positive” For Intl Clients; Profits Rise With ‘Star Wars’

Star Wars Movie Profit 2015

Pinewood Group, owner of the UK’s Pinewood and Shepperton Studios, today reported strong growth for the year ended March 31, 2016. Europe’s largest provider of stage and studio space, which also has bases in Canada, Malaysia, the Dominican Republic and Atlanta, increased revenues 10.9% to £83.2M ($107.7M) and saw operating profit jump 136.3% to £13.6M ($17.6M) . So-called “normalized” profit after tax was £10.1M ($13.1M), a hike of 51.6%.

The increases come as Pinewood continues to host major productions which in the last year have included Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Disney is a big client of Pinewood while Marvel often shoots at Shepperton and in Atlanta.

With the Brexit vote having sent the pound plummeting, this is good news for Hollywood studios looking to shoot in the UK. Pinewood Group CEO, Ivan Dunleavy, said today, “In the context of our business, the decline in the pound sterling exchange rate is undoubtedly positive for our international customers. We will continue to monitor sentiment around the issue going forward.”

Film revenues for the year were £53M ($68.8M), for a 20.6% jump. Other titles to occupy Pinewood and Shepperton stages in the past year include Assassin’s Creed (New Regency), Bridget Jones’s Baby (Working Title/Universal) and The Huntsman: Winter’s War (Universal). In television drama, Pinewood was recently home to The Crown (Leftbank/Netflix) and Humans (Kudos/Channel 4).

Pinewood Toronto Studios hosted Warner’s Suicide Squad and Paramount’s xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage as well as TV series The Expanse (Syfy) and The Strain (F/X). Pinewood Dominican Republic had The Weinstein Co’s 47 Meters Down in August, and several titles as part of Lantica Media’s co-financing deal with Pantelion. In Malaysia, Pinewood Iskandar again hosted Netflix/TWC series Marco Polo.

Pinewood confirmed that the first phase of the Pinewood East expansion in South Buckinghamshire is complete and partly occupied with five new stages and significant extra capacity. The first production to move in is Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, produced by the James Bond franchise’s Barbara Broccoli. Dunleavy said a further “major film production” will fully utilize the new facilities from August this year.

The Atlanta Studios, which has hosted Captain America: Civil War and Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, has begun phase three construction including six new stages, with completion expected before the end of the 2017 financial year.

In February, Pinewood said it was exploring strategic alternatives, ie a potential sale, “to maximize value for the Company’s shareholders and to build on Pinewood’s successes to date.” Today, the group said the strategic review is ongoing.

Pinewood is also consulting on Wanda’s long-gestating Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, a film facility set to house 45 stages and open in 2017.

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