Regal Entertainment Group Declares Dividend as Revenue Climbs

The largest U.S. theater chain took in nearly $800 million in Q4, its first since taking itself off the block

Regal Entertainment Group, the largest U.S. theater circuit, on Thursday reported total revenues of $799.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $739.9 million for the comparable period in 2013.

In its first earnings report since taking itself off the market last month, the theater chain founded by billionaire Phillip Anschutz reported after the market closed that it had net income of $46.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $24 million in 2013.

The decision to forego a sale came four months after Regal said it was considering that course of action among other strategic options. That move was probably made easier by this year’s film slate, which is loaded with superhero movies and powerful sequels like “Stars Wars: The Force Awakens,” as well as the next latest James Bond movie. It could also mean that it didn’t get the offer it was hoping for.

Regal’s Board of Directors also declared a cash dividend of 22 cents per Class A and Class B common share, payable on March 13 to stockholders of record on March 3, 2015.

Regal’s diluted earnings per share were 30 cents, double those in the comparable quarter. Adjusted earnings before taxes and depreciation were $163.5 million, compared to $125.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2013.

The numbers were boosted by the timing of Regal’s fiscal calendar, which included 14 weeks, rather than 13 in the comparable period. The extra week was between Christmas and New Year’s Day, a busy period at the box office. Still, given the soft 2014 box office, it was a positive report.

“In 2014, we demonstrated our ability to deliver value to our shareholders despite a challenging box office environment as our strategic and operational execution helped generate total shareholder return of over 20 percent for the third consecutive year,” stated Amy Miles, Regal’s chief executive.

“Looking ahead, we are encouraged by the industry box office results for the last several weeks and optimistic about the potential for box office success throughout 2015.” The overall box office is running roughly 7 percent ahead of last year, driven by the success of Warner Bros.’ “American Sniper” and Paramount Pictures’ “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.”

Regal operates 7,367 screens in 574 U.S. theaters in 42 states along with the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam and Saipan.