Carmike posts $3.8 million profit on record revenue

Columbus-based theater chain says average ticket, concession prices continue to rise

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 4, 2014 

Keith Bowers of Arkansas was arrested by the FBI last week on charges that he called in bomb threats to Carmike's Columbus headquarters.

FILE — Ledger-Enquirer

An acquisition-fueled year in which Carmike Cinemas continued to gobble up movie theaters helped propel the company’s revenue to a record $171.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

That filtered down to net income of $3.8 million in the October-December period, which was far off the $91.6 million posted in the same quarter a year ago, the Columbus-based firm reported Tuesday. The fourth quarter 2012 numbers were inflated, or skewed, by the company’s use of an $86.5 million deferred tax asset — accrued through past financial losses — to offset its 2012 income tax bite.

The fourth-quarter figures translated to net income, or earnings, per common share of 17 cents, which was lower than the 26 cents per share expected by Wall Street analysts surveyed by research firm Thomson Financial.

Still, wading through the data, Carmike President and Chief Executive Officer David Passman said he liked what he saw, pointing out his company “once again outperformed the industry” on several fronts.

“Admissions revenue per screen increased more than 6 percent over the prior year period, well ahead of the industry box office increase of approximately 1 percent,” he said in a statement. “Attendance per screen increased by over 3 percent, while industry attendance declined almost 3 percent. Carmike’s success was largely propelled by the addition of more than 500 screens to our theater circuit over the past two years through the company’s successful (merger and acquisition) program.”

Passman noted the firm’s adjusted EBITDA — short for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization — for the fourth quarter also hit a record level of $33.7 million. It was $113.4 million for the year. EBITDA is used by some firms to gauge overall profitability.

Strong movies hitting the big screen during the quarter were “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Frozen,” “Gravity,” “Monsters University,” “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” and “Thor: The Dark World.”

Passman also pointed out that once movie fans entered Carmike’s theaters in the quarter, they paid more on average for soft drinks, popcorn and candy.

“Once again, our concessions and other sales per patron increased, marking the 16th consecutive quarter with an increase in this important metric,” he said. “Our concessions and other per patron spend increased over 7 percent to a company record of $4.29 in Q4 2013.”

That latter number on concession spending was up from $4 per person in the fourth quarter of 2012, while average admission came in at $7.24 per person in the most recent quarter, up from $7.10 a year ago.

Meanwhile, total attendance inside Carmike’s 251 theaters in 37 states (2,654 screens as of Dec. 31) was 14.9 million in the fourth quarter, up from 13.2 million movie-goers a year ago. For all of 2013, 56.7 million people flocked to the firm’s theaters, up from just over 50 million in 2012.

Passman noted the company completed its acquisition of nine movie complexes, totaling 147 screens, from Muvico Entertainment in November, just as “Hunger Games” was kicking off. The company remains in “active discussions” for more theater purchases, the CEO said, while it also is steadily opening new complexes of its own. The current goal is to reach 300 theaters and 3,000 screens.

A quick snapshot of 2013 as a whole showed revenue reaching $634.8 million, compared to $533.9 million in 2012. Net income came in at $5.7 million, or 29 cents per common share, compared to $96.3 million, or $5.99 per share, in 2012. Again, the 2012 figures were inflated by the deferred tax asset used by the company late in the year.

As for Carmike Cinemas’ stock price, shares closed up 33 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $29.50 in trading Tuesday on the Nasdaq exchange. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $15.26 to $30.90 per share.

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