Pinewood Studios doubles its profits

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

Tynwald buildings, Douglas

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Pinewood Studios has doubled its profit, its end of year figures show.

The company, which the Manx Government has invested in, reported that profit after tax for the year ending March 31 was £5.4m, up from £1.8m, on revenues of £64.1m, which is up from £55m in 2013.

The announcement comes shortly after Pinewood won its planning appeal over a £200m expansion plan at its site in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire.

The company’s chief executive, Ian Dunleavy said that demand for the Studio’s UK facilities was at an ‘unprecedented level’.

Treasury Minister Eddie Teare told the House of Keys last week that the Government’s stake in Pinewood has been ‘far and away the best performing share’ in its portfolio.

He outlined his position at last week’s sitting as he came under further questioning on the issue from Douglas South MHK Kate Beecroft (Lib Van).

He was asked why Pinewood shares had reduced in value since the beginning of May. The Minister explained while the share price dropped from 462.5p each on May 1 to 415p on June 2, it had since risen. ‘In the Tynwald debate on this matter exactly two years ago, I outlined a number of factors that I believe indicated why our strategy for the future was evidenced by strong commercial fundamentals: the lack of UK studio space, the growing strength of the brand and the possibility of adding asset value based on land use consents,’ he said.

‘It appears to date at least that our assessment of the underlying fundamentals was not too far off the mark.

‘The company has increased turnover, utilisation of profitability.’

Mr Teare added: ‘The volatility of all stock market investments is a fact of life.

‘Share prices go up and down, depending on the marketplace, and the marketplace is determined by supply and demand. So it is not to be unexpected that from time to time there will be volatility in share prices.

‘But I have been impressed by the performance of this share. It has certainly been by far and away the best performing share in the Government’s portfolio. As we stand at the moment, we have turned an investment of £12.5m into an investment which is currently worth £23m.’

Mrs Beecroft said the investment had to quadruple, not just rise by 80 per cent, before all moneys were covered ‘because it is highly unlikely that we are going to get money back off the films, given that we did not off any of the previous investments’.

The Minister replied: ‘Do not let the truth get in the way of a good story.’

Meanwhile, Mr Teare admitted there was an ‘anomaly’ in the Government’s accounts for the Media Development Fund, with bank interest earned on the fund and retained by CinemaNX from 2007 to March 31 2013 actually totalling £6,364,148.

‘This anomaly has only recently been identified by the Treasury which is due to timing differences in the accounting periods of CinemaNX Ltd and Isle of Man Government together with adjustments for accruals and contra accounting entries within the respective sets of accounts.’

CinemaNX retained the interest to cover pre-production expenses of incoming productions and to invest in strategic media assets, Mr Teare said.

Treasury and CinemaNX have agreed to draw up a list of withdrawals from the Media Development Fund in each year since 2007.

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