Albion successfully exits cinema investments

Albion is pleased to announce the successful sale of its six cinema investments for approximately £12.5 million.

Funds managed or advised by Albion initially invested £1.2 million alongside City Screen Limited, the UK’s leading art-house cinema operator, to develop the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse in 1999 and subsequently invested further funds to develop the Picturehouse at FACT in Liverpool in 2002, the Greenwich Picturehouse in 2004, The Ritzy in Brixton and the Exeter Picturehouse in 2005 and Cinema City in Norwich in 2007, with additional funds invested in 2009 to enable the cinemas to become fully digital.

The investments in City Screen (Cambridge) Limited, City Screen (Liverpool) Limited, CS (Greenwich) Limited, CS (Brixton) Limited, CS (Exeter) Limited and CS (Norwich) Limited were sold as part of the sale of the City Screen Group to Cineworld Group plc which was announced earlier today.  

In total the funds had invested approximately £8.6 million and, prior to the £12.5 million proceeds referred to above, had received loan stock interest and other payments and loan stock repayments over the course of their investment of approximately £9.6 million. As a result of the sale, the funds overall have, since the initial investment in 1999, received a return of approximately 2.6x their investment and have realised a capital gain over original cost of approximately £6.5 million. The exit proceeds were largely reflected in the 30 September 2012 valuations of the funds.

Henry Stanford, Partner at Albion, said: “We are delighted to have played our part in building up the City Screen group and wish Lyn Goleby and the management team ongoing success under Cineworld’s ownership. Our cinema investments, which were part of Albion’ asset-backed portfolio, have generated an excellent return for our funds and demonstrate the success of our long-term investment philosophy.”

Lyn Goleby, managing director of City Screen, said: “Albion have been supportive long term investors who consistently reinvested into the cinemas to maintain and grow audiences. Their interest in the detailed management and their support for the way we have programmed and run the cinemas has been a great endorsement for the effective working of venture capital. The current sale takes us onto the next phase of development made possible by Albion’s early and consistent backing of the company.”