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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 16:10 GMT 17:10 UK
Pinewood warns of 'hard times'
Still from Batman Begins
Pinewood hopes a blockbuster like Batman will come to its rescue
Shares in film and TV studios Pinewood Shepperton have fallen sharply after it warned tough industry conditions meant it would not offer an interim dividend.

It said its warning in May that provisional bookings needed to become firm contracts if it was to hit market forecasts still remained valid.

"Protracted uncertainty" over tax breaks for UK films was also having an adverse effect, it added.

The studio is famous for being the traditional home of James Bond films.

Shares in Pinewood, where the Harry Potter franchise is also filmed, closed down 20.27%, or 30.5 pence at 120p on Monday.

Money worries

The group added that its margins were being squeezed by the adverse sterling-dollar currency conversion rate.

The group said it needed at least one booking for the current year to be of blockbuster size.

Pinewood said it expected interim operating profits would be slightly below market estimates at 2m.

The studio added it was considering measures to "improve profitability" but declined to say what areas it was looking at.

As well as ditching its half-year dividend the company said it was reviewing whether its was "appropriate to pay a full year 2005 in the light of actual results achieved".

Pinewood is due to report its interim results in late August.

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