March 14, 2008 / 12:09 PM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 1-Imax loss widens, hit by film-equipment write-down

(Adds details, background. In U.S. dollars, unless noted)

TORONTO, March 14 (Reuters) - Imax Corp IMX.TOIMAX.O said on Friday its wider fourth-quarter loss was caused partly by a write-down related to old film-based equipment as the giant-screen movie-system maker shifts to digital.

The Canadian company recorded a net loss of $10.1 million, or 25 cents a share in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared to a loss of $9.2 million, or a restated 23 cents a share in the same period a year earlier.

It took a $4-million write-down related to obsolete, film-based equipment, but also booked a $2.5-million gain from the sale of a theater in Rhode Island.

Excluding these items, Imax’s loss was 21 cents per share. Revenue, meanwhile, was down 13 percent at $32.3 million in the quarter.

On average, analysts polled by Reuters Estimates expected a loss of 13 cents per share on revenue of $34.4 million.

The company’s shares jumped more than 50 percent in December after it signed a deal to install 100 digital projection systems at AMC Entertainment Inc (AC.N) theaters in the United States. Earlier this week, Imax signed a 35-theater deal in central and South America over the next six years.

The stock, which closed at C$6.60 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, is still down nearly 50 percent from mid-2006, and on Friday the company’s co-Chief Executive Officers Richard Gelfond and Bradley Wechsler stressed “strategic” progress in 2007.

“We are looking forward to emerging from this transitional period and believe our roll-out of digital systems in the back half of 2008 will lay the foundation for financial improvement later this fiscal year,” they said in a statement.

$1=$0.99 Canadian Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Ka Yan Ng

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