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Good and bad times unfold for Pinewood Shepperton

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MUMBAI: In what seems to be a mixed bag of news for Pinewood Shepperton, the group which has posted fair financials for the fiscal year 2012-13 currently faces a potential production crisis.

The studio provider which has played home to a number of blockbuster Hollywood features including the James Bond franchise has posted revenues at ?63million ($96.3M) for the financial year 2012-2013 with healthy operating profits of $8.25 million versus $4.13 million in the previous period. The only blight on the balance sheet was the performance of the TV division, which made revenues of ?5.2m ($ 7.94). Net debt was ?44.7m ($ 68.28m) at 31 March, down from ?50.4m ($76.98) a year ago. The company paid a final dividend of 1.5p per share; whereas in 2011 it did not pay one.

However Pinewood is still facing a hindrance from the stubborn South Buckinghamshire district council that rejected Pinewood?s second planning application to secure a ?200m Hollywood-style expansion plan, last month. A public inquiry into the decision scheduled to start on 19 November.

The studio?s filt attempt in 2011, called Project Pinewood, also failed to gain clearance and ultimately cost ?7.1m - pushing the company into pre-tax loss in 2011.

The studio business revealed that it has already spent almost ?2m on its latest attempt to convince authorities to affirm the ambitious project to double the size of its presence in Buckinghamshire.

CEO Ivan Dunleavy said that he did not expect the second planning application to cost as much, but that Pinewood was fully committed to winning clearance for the plan.

"We are reusing a lot of the work we invested in the first time around, like environmental analysis. The proposal for adding more capacity is clearly a simpler one than Project Pinewood and we don?t anticipate anything the costs rising like it previously. However, our shareholders are supportive of those sorts of sums for something as critically important to the future as this."

Among the recent films to be shot at Pinewood are The Muppets? Again! And Maleficient. Lining up are Kenneth Branagh?s Cinderella, Marvel?s Guardians Of The Galaxy and J.J Abrams? Star Wars: Episode VII.

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