Shares of Regal Entertainment rises on 1Q beat

Friday, April 27, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 17

KNOXVILLE (AP) — Shares of Regal Entertainment Group rose 6 percent on Wednesday, a day after the movie theater operator reported better-than-expected first-quarter results as more Americans went to the movies and snacked on popcorn and soda.

A strong lineup of movies and cost cuts led to the better results, Regal Entertainment CEO Amy Miles said in a statement late Tuesday. Some hit movies during the period included "The Hunger Games" teen action movie and the romantic tearjerker "The Vow."

"We are excited about the upcoming summer movie season that kicks off with Marvel's "The Avengers" and remain optimistic about the potential for box office success for the remainder of 2012," Miles said.

The Knoxville, Ky.-based company's net income for the three months ended March 29 rose to $46.3 million, or 30 cents per share. That compares with a year-ago loss of $23.6 million, or 15 cents per share.

Analysts expected a much smaller 18 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 20 percent to $684.9 million from $570.9 million last year. Analysts expected $680 million. Admissions revenue rose 20 percent to $474.1 million from $394.4 million. Concessions revenue rose 19 percent to $180 million.

The company also declared a cash dividend of 21 cents, payable on June 15 to shareholders of record as of June 5.

Shares rose 80 cents, or 5.8 percent, to $14.50 in afternoon trading Wednesday. Its shares are near their 52-week high of $14.74 set in mid-November. Regal Entertainment shares traded as low as $11.15 in mid-July.