Harry Potter boosts Pinewood's profits

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The Independent Online

The films Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the latest Harry Potter helped take Pinewood Shepperton's half-year profits to a record £6.7m.

The films Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the latest Harry Potter helped take Pinewood Shepperton's half-year profits to a record £6.7m.

The 16 per cent jump in operating profits, before exceptionals, was the first result since the film studio business floated in May this year. Michael Grade, the chairman, said: "This performance demonstrates the continuing strength of the television and film markets in which we operate."

The company said the boost in results came from "strong" sales of studio facilities. The group rents space and provides services to film and television makers. At the pre-tax level, profits were up 32 per cent at £3.8m.

Turnover at film stage services was 10 per cent higher at £11.3m, driven by large productions at the Pinewood and Shepperton studios. The biggest films worked on in the period were Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Intimidation Game and the fourth Harry Potter film, The Goblet of Fire.

The television division saw turnover up 17 per cent at £6m. Among the shows filmed at the company's facilities in the half-year were The Weakest Link and My Family.

Ivan Dunleavy, the chief executive, said the company was confident about meeting expectations for the second half. He said that studio providers would continue to benefit from the ever-greater demand for content. He added that Mr Grade was "very committed" to Pinewood Shepperton. Some critics, including MPs, have suggested that Mr Grade's recent appointment as chairman of the BBC created a conflict of interest with his position at a company at which television programmes are made.

Mr Dunleavy said: "His [Mr Grade's] commitment has not altered. He is available to the business whenever the business needs him."

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