National CineMedia Beats Q4 Earnings Estimates Despite Attendance Drop

The exhibition ad sales company liked the way 2013 ended up, but has reservations about 2014, according to its Q4 earnings release and forecast.National CineMedia The last three months of the year included a $25.4M gain from the sale of its Fathom Events business. With that factored in, reported net income leaped to $53.6M from $16.5M in the period last year on revenues of $122.7M, +5.9%. The top line figure beat analyst expectations for $117.6M. Factoring out one-time items, earnings came in at 21 cents a share, beating forecasts for 16 cents. Ad sales rose 4% to $108.1M, even though total attendance at theaters in National CineMedia’s network fell 3.3% to 165.2M. CEO Kurt Hall attributes the sales increase to the company’s “progress on our longer term strategy to broaden our client base, expand our network reach and improve our technology to make our marketing products more competitive.” It enabled NCM to authorize a special cash dividend of 50 cents a share on top of its 22 cent quarterly dividend. But the company seems concerned about 2014. It forecast as much as a 9% drop in Q1 revenues, even factoring out Fathom’s contribution in 2013. Cash flow could drop as much as 28%. The full year forecast is better, but still blah with revenues up as much as 3% and cash flow possibly +2%.

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