First half operating profits after exceptional items have also fallen 3% to £3.2 million. Total revenue fell 6.4% in the first 6 months to £19 million. Film production revenue fell by 8.5% to £10.8 million, while TV shooting income fell 7.3% to £5.1 million. Martin Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret was the biggest production to use Pinewood Shepperton between January and June. Other productions using the studios included Disney’s John Carter of Mars and Ruby Films’ Jane Eyre. Pinewood Shepperton has been hit by several Hollywood productions being delayed.
Crystal Amber, which yesterday became Pinewood Shepperton’s biggest shareholder, characterises chairman Michael Grade as “clueless” and called on him to stand down. The investor complains that Pinewood’s revenues have fallen, costs have risen and profits broadly halved since the group raised £50 million at flotation in 2004.
The former ITV chairman has survived a shareholder rebellion at this morning’s annual general meeting of the company that owns Pinewood and Shepperton film studios.
Crystal Amber, an activist investment fund with 18% of the shares in Pinewood Shepperton has attacked Grade’s “poor stewardship” as chairman of the company. The fund says the board needs fresh leadership.
Grade led the management buyout from Rank in 2000. Profits and return on capital have fallen by more than half since the business was floated in May 2004.
The fund first invested in Pinewood Shepperton 18 months ago because it felt the studio was undervalued. It then put forward its own proposals as to how market perception of the value of the business might be improved. Richard Bernstein, Crystal’s investment adviser, said that although initially well-received, nothing has happened and subsequent meetings with Grade have been “unproductive”.
Pinewood Shepperton says that most shareholders are behind it, which “gives us confidence that they support the board, its stewardship and strategy”.
The group has invited Steven Underwood of investor the Peel Group, which holds 26.6% of the company, to join the board.