MGM Reports 3rd Straight Year of Record Profits

CEO Gary Barber credits “Spectre,” UA acquisition, addition of Mark Burnett as 2015 income hits $252 million

Metro Goldwyn Mayer continued to recover from its 2010 bankruptcy on Thursday as the Hollywood movie and TV studio’s parent company reported a third straight year of record profits, driven by James Bond, a savvy TV acquisition and a one-time tax break.

MGM Holdings Inc., the parent company of MGM, reported revenue of $1.56 billion, adjusted EBITDA of $381 million and net income of $252 million for the calendar year ending Dec. 31, 2015.

The net income was up $97 million, or 62 percent, over 2014. The adjusted earnings number was a 5 percent increase over 2014 and is the highest in MGM’s modern history, while revenue rose 8 percent.

The blockbuster “Spectre,” the 24th James Bond movie, delivered $880 million in global grosses and was a major driving force, and MGM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Barber credited two other big pickups for the strong year.

“MGM delivered another remarkable year of outstanding financial results,” said Barber. “Our ability to achieve three consecutive years of record profits is a credit to the quality of our content, the depth of our extensive library, and strong execution by our management team.

“Our acquisition of United Artists Media Group and addition of Mark Burnett to our executive team further bolsters MGM’s position as a leading provider of premium content.”

Barber said the company’s TV unit should continue to grow after it acquired a 45 percent interest in United Artists Media Group and the appointment of Burnett as MGM Television president.

The numbers were impressive given that they came despite a very strong U.S. dollar affecting foreign income and high movie production costs, as the price tag on making “Spectre” rose to $245 million. Adjusted to exclude the negative impact of the exchange rate on foreign currencies, the adjusted EBITDA would have increased 12 percent.

The bottom line got a boost from a one-time income tax benefit recognized in the third quarter, primarily related to foreign tax exclusions.

Privately held MGM has reported its earnings since its emergence from a 2010 bankruptcy filing. One of the leading film studios of early Hollywood and home of the iconic roaring lion, the company is rebuilding, and three years of landing solidly in the black is a good sign.

The James Bond movies are its cash cow, and the company is currently entertaining offers for a distribution partner. The November release of”Spectre” marked the end of its most recent deal with Sony.

The full earnings report can be found at mgm.com.