Pinewood profits up after 'Star Wars' filming in Ireland
Profits rose by half a million pounds at Pinewood Studios, the biggest film studio in the UK, as it was boosted by blockbusters such as the new 'Star Wars', which was partly filmed in Ireland.
The company, which is the largest studio in Europe, launched an Irish operation in May which offers services such as pre-production budgeting and location scouting.
Pre-tax profits rose from £3.8m to £4.3m in the six months to the end of December, while operating profits more than doubled to £7m from £2.5m in the same period a year earlier. Revenue slipped slightly to £38.2m, down from £38.5m in 2014.
Included in that figure is revenue relating to 'Star Wars' Episode 7, part of which was shot on Skellig Michael island off the coast of Kerry. Pinewood said it "provided production services during the period through its wholly owned subsidiary Space Bear" which is based in Ireland. A spokesman for Pinewood said that any revenue relating from its Irish operations would be included in the overall amount of revenue booked, although the company did not break this figure down.
Pinewood chief executive Ivan Dunleavy said: "The first six months of the year have maintained the positive momentum reported in our full-year results in June 2015.
"Productions based at the studios during the period include the year's biggest films 'Spectre' and 'Star Wars: Episode 7 - The Force Awakens'.
Naoise Barry, head of production at Pinewood Productions Ireland, previously told the Irish Independent that the company would consider setting up a studio in Ireland in the next five years depending on the level of demand in the market.
Pinewood recently started work on an extension to its main UK operations where it is to spend £200m to double the size of its 100,000 square metres of facilities. Recent movies filmed at Pinewood include' Avengers: Age of Ultron' and the latest James Bond film 'Spectre'.
The first phase of the construction project, which is being part-funded by a £30m placing of 8m shares, is due to be completed in June 2016, and is currently on budget.