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DENVER-Harry Potter, the expected blockbuster movie, hasn’t even hit the screens yet. Still, United Artists Theatre Co. is reporting stellar earnings.

The sixth-largest owner of movie theaters across the US is controlled by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, who brought it out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy after buying the company last year.

Despite a 9.5% decline in the average screens operated, UATC’s consolidated revenue for the third quarter increased 6.2% over the same period in 2000 to $158.6 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, increased 23.3%, to $23.3 million, from the third quarter of 2000. UATC’s net earnings, exclusive of extraordinary items related to its reorganization under Chapter 11, were $6.2 million, compared to a $30-million loss in 2000.

During the first nine months of the year, its revenues have increased 0.6% to $415.6 million over last year despite a 10.45% drop in the number of screens it operates. It earned $6.5 million in the first nine months, compared to a $70.7 million loss last year.

”I am very pleased by the current quarter and year-to-date increases in admissions revenue per average screen and the significant increase in the company’s year-to-date EBITDA and EBITDA margins,” says Kurt Hall, the company’s president and CEO. ”While much of this improvement relates to higher industry wide admissions during the 2001 period and the improved quality of our asset base, our operating results were also positively affected by a very focused operating approach by our management and theater employees.”

Hall says now that the bankruptcy is behind it, the company is expanding and improving its position in key markets.

”Since the completion of our reorganization in March, we have completed a stadium seating renovation at one our theatres in the Philadelphia market, completed renovations at several smaller market theatres, and have begun the stadium seating renovation and expansion (with five new screens) of our Sheepshead Bay theatre, one of our most successful theatres in the New York City market,” he says. “We also have made significant progress in our efforts to sell the real estate associated with certain underperforming owned theatres. These cash proceeds have provided additional liquidity for theatre redevelopment and debt repayment.”

UATC operates 1,559 screens in 206 locations.

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