Pinewood Group reports pandemic sales of $125 million

The Pinewood Group, which operates Pinewood and Shepperton Studios — home of recent blockbusters like No Time to Die, Black Widow, and Cruella — has announced for the 31st, 2022.

That’s an increase of £6million on last year, although for much of 2021 the COVID-19 pandemic was still having an impact through social distancing, mandatory self-isolation and lockdowns. Despite this, the UK has seen a production boom since filming resumed in July 2020 following the implementation of COVID-19 protocols.

The 60-page financial report, filed with UK company Companies House earlier this week, says “the group worked at full capacity throughout the year”, which ran from March 2021 to 2022.

In terms of profit, that revenue translated into a gross profit of £63.6m – up from £3.1m last year – and a net profit of £31.3m, down slightly on last year’s £33.7m . The report attributes this to the high level of production, which resulted in a “reduced opportunity to generate resale revenue and an increased use of studio ancillary services, which are primarily sold at cost.”

The group also paid back £0.5million for the coronavirus job retention scheme it had been part of during the pandemic, noting that “earnings from international agreements have fallen slightly compared to last year”. This was due to the group’s “exit” of the distribution and marketing agreement in October 2020 with Trilith Studios of Atlanta, Georgia (formerly known as Pinewood Atlanta Studios), according to the report.

However, the report notes that deals with studios in Toronto and the Dominican Republic are still generating revenue.

The Directors have ordered that no dividends be paid for the financial year.

Pinewood Group provides sound stages and “other production accommodation” such as offices and dressing rooms. According to the report, it also provides post-production and other studio services, as well as “international sales, marketing and customer support on behalf of third-party studios.”

To keep up with demand, the group is embarking on ambitious developments in both Pinewood and Shepperton totaling 502 acres of land. In Pinewood, which lies between London and Windsor, the group is building five more soundstages, which are scheduled to go online this summer and have already been leased long-term by Disney. The group has also applied for planning permission to build a center that will include manufacturing facilities, skills and training accommodation and a visitor attraction.

Meanwhile, construction has begun at Shepperton on an expansion that will double the size of the current manufacturing facility. The studio has already signed long-term deals with Netflix and Amazon to rent the space.

“This means that 100% of the Group’s existing and under-construction production facilities will be leased under long-term index-linked contracts,” the report reads.

The Pinewood Group report notes that last financial year the company’s turnover came from a whopping £84.1m from just two customers (who are not named) and last year £80m of turnover from just three customers (also not named). ). ).

The issue of long leases being taken on by larger studios is a hot topic in the UK as smaller productions scramble to film due to the production boom.

From Pinewood’s perspective, however, the long leases are a critical form of risk management. “We face competition from existing studios and new entrants, both in the UK and internationally,” reads the report, headed “Key Risks and Uncertainties”.

“Having long-term contracts for 100% of the existing manufacturing space at our UK sites, with rent payable upfront, will essentially eliminate the risk of low utilization or downward pressure on our prices in the medium term. ‘ the report continues.

Other risks identified in the report include Brexit, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a skills shortage, which the group believes could be exacerbated by a “significant increase in studio space in the South East”. [of the U.K.]’ and personal injury ‘as production and construction teams use our sites and move around due to the nature of their operations and activities.’

To mitigate some of these risks, the group is working with the BFI and the UK Government to address skills shortages and also has a ‘disaster recovery plan’ in the event of a ‘major incident’ such as a fire or explosion.

“A major incident, such as a fire or explosion, could endanger people and/or the site, resulting in lost revenue and damage to the group’s operations and reputation,” the report acknowledges, adding that the group has a Staff employed – home health, safety and fire safety team who ‘perform regular risk assessments’.

In March, a set of Disney’s upcoming live-action set Snow White caught fire, while in 2006 a fire broke out during filming of the Bond film Casino Royale. No injuries were reported in either incident. Pinewood Group reports pandemic sales of $125 million

Charles Jones

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