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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 10:00 GMT 11:00 UK
Film studio seeks market listing
Scene from The World is Not Enough
James Bond has a long historical connection with Pinewood
Pinewood Shepperton, which carries the names of two of the UK's most famous film studios, has announced plans to float on the London Stock Exchange.

Pinewood has hosted 17 Bond adventures, up to the most recent, Die Another Day.

The group was formed after a management team bought Pinewood Studios from the Rank Group in 2000 and added Shepperton Studios in February 2001.

The owners include 3i, the venture capital group, and the company's chairman, Michael Grade.

International production

The company said the flotation would take place, hopefully by summer, through the placing of new and existing shares to institutional and other investors.

There will also be an offer of new shares to certain "eligible employees" of the group, although the eligibility criteria has yet to be announced.

Pinewood Shepperton plays a major part in the international film production industry, hosting movies from the major Hollywood studios and the independents at our facilities
Michael Grade, Pinewood Shepperton chairman
The group, which employs about 200 people, has 36 stages across its two studios and owns the freehold to the two sites, which together total more than 200 acres.

As well as major national and international film production, the studios are used for filmed television and studio television recording and post-production sound services.

The company said the main purpose of the flotation was to refinance its debt, which would allow it to pursue expansion plans.

The group has not given details of its debt, but said it was less than 50% of the enterprise value of the company, which is between 130m and 140m.

Distinguished history

Former Channel 4 boss Michael Grade, who led the management team that founded the group, said: "The demand for both film and television content continues to grow, offering us many opportunities to increase our business.

Pinewood/Shepperton
1932 Shepperton studios founded
1934 Builder Charles Boot buys Heatherden Hall and grounds
1935 Boot joins J Arthur Rank in forming Pinewood
1936 London Melody first Pinewood film completed
1947 Six major Pinewood movies including Red Shoes
2000 Pinewood bought-out from Rank
2001 Pinewood and Shepperton studios merge
"Pinewood Shepperton plays a major part in the international film production industry, hosting movies from the major Hollywood studios and the independents at our facilities."

The group's largest customers include MGM, Paramount, Warner Brothers, Disney, Universal-owned UK production house Working Title and national UK broadcasters.

Pinewood Studios began film production in 1936 following the involvement of J Arthur Rank, and has been the setting for more than 650 feature films.

They include Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Carry On Sergeant and 30 more Carry On films, The Battle Of Britain, Fiddler On The Roof, Superman and Batman.

Modern romances

The BBC quiz show The Weakest Link is filmed at Pinewood's site near Slough, which is also home to the 007 silent stage.

As well as its Bond connection, it has played host to the two Tomb Raider films.

Shepperton Studios started out in 1932 and has seen more than 700 films produced, including The African Queen, The Guns of Navarone, Oliver! and Gandhi.

More recently modern romantic-comedies including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Love Actually, as well as Bend It Like Beckham, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Billy Elliot have been produced there.

Group turnover for the year to 31 December was 37.9m with an operating profit of 10.9m.

Cazenove has been appointed as sponsor and financial adviser for the flotation.




SEE ALSO:
Sustaining the UK film boom
12 Jan 04  |  Entertainment
Historic studios look to future
28 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Carry On Pinewood
21 Jun 01  |  Entertainment
Profits fall at slimmed-down Rank
02 Mar 01  |  Business
UK studios merger takes on Hollywood
12 Feb 01  |  Entertainment


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