Film studio provider Pinewood Group is planning to increase the overall studio production space at Pinewood Studios by approximately 50 per cent as a result of the first phase of Pinewood Studios Development Framework (PSDF). This will comprise five new large stages, ten workshops, two production office buildings and associated infrastructure and landscaping.
Development will commence soon, after the company secured a new £135 million funding package from a banking syndicate led by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. The funding, which includes a £100 million term loan and a £35 million revolving credit facility, will also enable the business to refinance its existing borrowings. RBS, HSBC and Barclays are the other participants in the banking syndicate.
As well as contributing to the growth of the UK’s screen-based industries, it is hoped that the scheme will, once fully developed, create over 3,000 new jobs and provide £194 million of private sector infrastructure investment in the region.
Pinewood’s post-tax profits increased by 130 per cent in the six months leading to September 2014, largely due to increasing demand from filmmakers. Overall revenues grew to £38.5 million, a total increase of £2.3 million from the same period last year. Recent productions have included Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens; Avengers: Age of Ultron; Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass and Cinderella.
Commenting on the transaction, Chris Naisby, finance director at Pinewood Group, said: “For almost 80 years our studios have been home to some of the most iconic films and TV shows ever made. We are looking to remain at the forefront of the industry by expanding our facilities to meet demand.
“For the future of such an ambitious project it is vital to secure the right financial package and the support of the right banking partners. This is exactly what we have achieved. We can now look ahead with confidence as we seek to build a state of the art studio complex ensuring that Pinewood maintains its position as a global industry leader.”
Declan Mulcahy, relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, technology, media and telecoms team said: “Pinewood has been a valued client of ours for over ten years, so we were keen to support them in delivering one of the most significant investments the UK’s creative industries has seen.”
Nick Hughes of Lloyds Bank’s strategic finance team added, “Pinewood is a truly international brand that drives investment into the UK, and this new development will only reinforce its importance as a global centre of production for the screen industries.”