Pinewood Studios sets off sales chatter with business review

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Pinewood Studios, home to Star Wars and James Bond, has put itself on the auction block with a possible price tag of £250 million.

The group, which includes joint ventures in locations such as Atlanta and Toronto as well as its north London base, has appointed investment bank Rothschild to examine the AIM-listed firm’s capital base and structure.

Chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said: “The Pinewood business has grown strongly over the past year. We want to raise additional capital to fulfil our expansion plans but we also want to broaden our share register and step up to the main list of the Stock Exchange.”

On the back of a bumper year for the British film industry, Pinewood has seen revenues climb and said today that it expected its full-year results to be better than it had forecast at the December interims. But shares have underperformed and 40% shareholder, billionaire John Whittaker, will have final say in the process. 

“We’re continuing to see very strong occupancy both in the UK and in our international studios,” Dunleavy said. 

New sound stages and 300,000 square feet of new facilities are due to be completed in June, after a share placing last year that raised £30 million. 

But Dunleavy would like to continue the second and third phases of the studio’s expansion plan, which require more capital. Pinewood has attracted the attentions of Guernsey-based activist investor Richard Bernstein, whose Crystal Amber fund has a 5% stake. 

Bernstein tried and failed to oust chairman Lord Grade in 2010 and more recently criticised Pinewood for not making more money from a string of blockbusters, including the two latest Star Wars films, which were part-filmed in its studios.

 

Source Article from http://www.standard.co.uk/business/pinewood-studios-sets-off-sales-chatter-with-business-review-a3177086.html

February 11, 2016 |
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