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Leisure: Cineworld hoping for better second half after impact from World Cup

PUBLISHED: 09:46 14 August 2014

The Cineworld cinema in Parkway, Bury St Edmunds.

The Cineworld cinema in Parkway, Bury St Edmunds.

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Cineworld is pinning its hopes on a raft of potential blockbusters movies to improve its performance this year after box office takings were dented by the World Cup.

The cinema chain today reported a 3.4% decline in UK and Ireland admissions for the first half of the year which, though offset by higher prices, saw ticket revenues fall by 0.5%.

It was also hit by signs that the popularity of 3D screenings appear to be fading, with these representing 16.3% of admissions in the first half compared to 18.7% in the same period last year.

Cineworld said the final stages of the World Cup had also hampered trading at the start of the current period.

But it said there was a strong film line-up for the second half, including Guardians of the Galaxy, and the latest instalments of the Hunger Games and Hobbit franchises.

Chief executive Moshe Greidinger said: “Overall, the strength of the film line-up in the second half, coupled with our solid first half performance, gives us confidence and we are on track with our plans for the year.”

UK and Ireland total revenues, which included better retail takings from food and drink concessions, grew 0.3% in the period.

The figures are the first half-year results since Cineworld completed a takeover of Cinema City, an Israeli-founded chain, earlier this year. It created a company with 200 outlets and nearly 2,000 screens across Europe and Israel.

Pre-tax profits fell 15.8% to £13.9million after one-off hits including takeover expenses and finance charges though on an adjusted basis they improved by 46.2%. Group revenues climbed 33.2% to £268.6m.

Mr Greidinger, who has taken over as boss after previously being chief executive of Cinema City, said the group expected to achieve annual savings of £5 million as a result of the merger within the next three years.

The chief executive’s family now controls a chunk of the business through Warsaw-listed Global City Holdings, which has a 26.1% stake in Cineworld.

Global City is majority-owned by Israel-based IT International Theatres, controlled by the Greidinger family.

Cineworld’s UK network includes multiplex cinemas in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill and Braintree.

In June, it sold the Abbeygate Picturehouse in Bury, acquired as part of its takeover of City Screen in 2012, following a ruling by the Competition Commission that it must sell one of its locations in the town.

The Hatter Street site, which now operates as the Abbeygate Cinema, was acquired by a new company led by City Screen founding partner Tony Jones.

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