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“Historic” quarter for IMAX

Giant screen specialist IMAX’s CEO Richard Gelfond told analysts that the theatre operator’s past few months had been “historic”. “In addition to strong third quarter results on both the top line and bottom line, I’m proud to say we installed our 1,000th IMAX theater; doubling our theatre network in four years. And most recently, we successfully listed our IMAX China business on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.”

Gelfond said that with IMAX now operating in 66 countries around the world, IMAX cinemas were now operating somewhere almost 24/7.

Revenues for IMAX Corp increased 40 per cent over last year. Adjusted EBITDA was up 49 per cent. Gross box office for the quarter was $190 million, which was up 12 per cent over last year, despite tough comparison to 2014’s particularly strong third quarter, which was led by Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

IMAX China listed October 8th at HK$31 or US$4 and is now trading at a 44 per cent premium, and the value of IMAX China is approximately $2.1 billion in the aftermarket.  “In the midst of volatile market conditions, IMAX China commanded a premium multiple and generated high levels of investor interest during the roadshow, which has continued since trading commenced. We’re pleased to have built now such a strong foundation of investors in Asia to match the strong foundation of investors in the rest of the world,” stated Gelfond.

“Our third-quarter box office in China increased 45 per cent to $70.4 million last year, resulting in a PSA of $301,000. This brings China’s PSA to a very impressive $1.1 million for just the first nine months of 2015.”

He explained that two expanding markets for IMAX were Japan and the Middle East.  IMAX has 19 theatres in Japan, and 12 in the Mid-East. “We have identified 83 [potential] sites in Japan, and we estimate the Mid-East can expand to 30 sites over time.”

IMAX is adopting laser-delivery of its films. “As of September 30, 11 laser systems were in operation in some of the highest-performing largest theatres in the world.  Eight are in North America, one is in Dubai, one in London at the iconic Leicester Square theatre and one in Melbourne. In Q4, we expect to install another seven to eight laser systems. So far the reception to the product is overwhelmingly positive, and we’re very proud to have continued our long tradition of driving cinematic innovation.”

Gelfond told analysts that the James Bond release Spectre, plus upcoming releases including Hunger Games: Mockingjay and The Martian, plus the new Star Wars release, will see audiences “blown away” by the IMAX experience.

Gelfond told analysts that “home theatre” was part of the future development plan.

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