Good growth boosts profit for NHNZ

Michael Stedman
Michael Stedman
Dunedin-based film-maker NHNZ booked a roughly three-fold profit increase to $3.1 million in its full year to June 2011, underpinned by programme sales and licensing revenue up almost $6 million.

The use of accumulated tax losses appears to make up a large component of the balance sheet, with $11 million in tax losses to be carried forward.

NHNZ, owned by Fox Television Studios, saw programme and licensing sales up 35% from $16.77 million to $22.67 million, but that was countered by a 55% rise in the cost of sales, from $8.56 million to $13.4 million.

NHNZ managing director Michael Stedman said National Geographic's I Survived had been one of "three bottom-line drivers" for the company, and its 100th show would be filmed this year.

NHNZ has 66 hours of shows in production, including first deliveries of 10 hours of a new show, Ultimate Animal Countdown, and another new show of six hours, budgeted at $US1.2 million ($NZ1.5 million) per hour.

Wildlife show Built for the Kill has also wrapped up its second series for the channel.

"We have been having steady and good growth," Mr Stedman told BusinessDesk.

The Travel Channel's Gem Hunter, set in Madagascar, was going into six hours of production and a co-production for Japan's NHK network was in progress, Mr Stedman said.

"These are good drivers in terms of the bottom line." Overall operating earnings from revenue, which included extra gains in both grant revenue and rental income totalling almost $1 million, rose 37% from $10.25 million to $14.07 million.

For the financial year, NHNZ's profit before tax was $3.25 million and it paid nearly 5% tax, or $151,639, compared to nearly 7% the previous year ($58,252 on $894,450).

"Income tax losses available to carry forward and to offset future taxable income approximately total $11 million [compared to] 2010, $10 million, so long as the company continues to meet the requirements of the income tax legislation.

"The benefit of these losses at 28% tax rate are $3.08 million (2010 at 30% were $3 million)," notes in the financial statement said.

During the year, NHNZ sold its former Dowling St headquarters for $1.2 million. Its new Melville St headquarters' land and building were valued at $1.73 million, with building improvements, at cost, of $4.24 million.

NHNZ, ultimately owned by News Corp, is the biggest producer of Chinese documentaries outside that country. Last year it finished making China Revealed, a 3-D show about the country's cultures, colours and landscapes.

"3-D is a big driver - we made more 3-D documentaries than any other country," Mr Stedman said.

NHNZ has offices in Beijing and Washington DC and controlling stakes in Singapore-based production company Beach House Pictures and South African-based Aquavision Wildlife Filmmakers.

Its programmes are also supplied to the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Science and A&E Television Networks.

- simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

 

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