Carmike Cinemas Says Third-Quarter Per/Patron Revenue Up Overall Admissions Down

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Wed, 11/19/2008 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

While the economic environment is very challenging Carmike made continued progress towards its operating strategies in the 2008 third quarter as reflected by increases in per patron revenue expense reductions lower interest expense a decline in bank debt and additional closures of under-performing theatres says Michael W. Patrick Carmike's chief executive officer. During the third quarter we again achieved an increase in average per patron revenue as both admission and concession/other sales per patron rose year-over-year based on price increases implemented earlier in 2008. However these improvements did not offset overall admission declines.” Patrick went on to say that “In the face of the current operating environment Carmike has taken timely steps to reduce expenses with third quarter general and administrative expenses cut by over 14 percent as we lowered salaries and wage expense incentive compensation and legal and professional fees during the period. In an effort to further reduce interest expense and de-leverage Carmike's balance sheet on September 30 we made a voluntary $10 million bank debt pre-payment. Due to recent economic and capital market uncertainties the board of directors also suspended the quarterly dividend in favor of directing surplus cash to debt repayments. Including the third quarter pre-payment Carmike has repaid an aggregate of $33 million of bank debt over the past twelve months. Our net interest expense declined 17 percent in the 2008 third quarter as a result of the combination of lower outstanding debt and reduced borrowing rates. Patrick says We expect a solid fourth quarter at the box office with bellwether family films such as Madagascar 2 Beverly Hills Chihuahua High School Musical 3: Senior Year and Bolt in 3D as well as the James Bond sequel Quantum of Solace and the vampire saga Twilight.” “Given our circuit's digital cinema and 3D cinema leadership we believe Carmike is well positioned for 2009 and beyond. Importantly 2009 has at least thirteen 3D features scheduled. We believe films being made in 3D are ideally suited to the tastes of consumers in our markets and we are optimistic about the potential benefit of 3D films to attendance and the company's overall revenue performance. Beyond 3D the flexibility of our digital circuit allows us to show a range of special events that are expected to help draw new customers to our theatres drive concession volume and provide further opportunities for premium pricing.