A DEAL to purchase shares in the Pinewood film studios could finally be signed this month.
Tynwald voted in June, following a five-hour debate, to invest in Pinewood Shepperton. But the proposal has continued to court controversy ever since.
The move will see Treasury buy a stake of up to 19.99 per cent in Pinewood Shepperton from Peel Holdings at a cost of £24m and appoint the studio to act as investment manager for the Media Development Fund.
A Treasury spokesman confirmed that no shares have yet been purchased.
But she added: ‘The shares will be purchased at the same time as the investment manager’s agreement being concluded. We are working towards a completion this month.’
She said the investment management agreement could go ahead once the UK Financial Services Authority licence conditions are met. FSA approval is not needed for the share purchase but Treasury wanted both agreements do be done coterminously.
Shares will be purchased in two phases with half acquired on an interim basis and the remainder secured in a second tranche at a later date.
Although the Pinewood deal has yet to be signed, Isle of Man Film has already announced its first collaboration with the studio.
Filming of lavish period drama Belle will begin in the island next Monday (September 24). Alongside Gugu Mbatha Raw in the title role, the cast boasts an impressive ensemble of Britain’s finest actors including Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton and Emily Watson.
Laurence Skelly MHK, Department of Economic Development member with responsibility for Isle of Man Film, said he expected Belle to be the first of many collaborations with Pinewood.
He insisted that figures he had quoted about the cast and crew of the production injecting £1 million into the local economy were based on the island’s previous experience of making films here.
He told the Examiner: ‘It’s estimated to be around the £1 million mark based on our past history. It depends on the size of the film, the number of people involved, transportation, accommodation, catering, extras, prop hire and locations – everything surrounding the production.’
Isle of Man Film’s next project – its 100th – is to be announced soon.
Steve Christian of CinemaNX said contracts were still in negotiation so it would premature at the moment to give further details of the production.
During the Tynwald debate on the Pinewood deal in June, Treasury Minister Eddie Teare called for members to take ‘bold and decisive’ action and insisted there were tangible benefits from the deal.
But critics including Kate Beecroft (Lib Van, Douglas South), Brenda Cannell (Douglas East), Zac Hall (Onchan) and Alfred Cannan (Michael) argued there had been no clear business plan and no proper due diligence.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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Temperature: 6 C to 11 C
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