IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX) recently reported solid financial results for the fourth quarter of 2022 demonstrating the value of its unique global entertainment technology platform and content portfolio.
“IMAX fully expects to resume pre-pandemic levels of performance in 2023, as we surge into the year with strong dual tailwinds – the record-breaking performance of Avatar: The Way of Water and the rapid reopening of China,” said Richard L. Gelfond, Chief Executive Officer of IMAX. “Already in the new year, we’ve delivered our highest grossing first-run release ever with the ‘Avatar’ sequel, our best Chinese New Year box office ever, and multi-system agreements – demonstrating our prospects for strong box office and global network growth in 2023.”
“The first ‘Avatar’ took IMAX to a new level, and we are seeing early signs that its sequel will help drive growth across our business. ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is our highest grossing release ever in nearly 50 international markets, many of which are underrepresented with IMAX systems and among those we’ve identified for strategic expansion. Coupled with a strong, consistent Hollywood slate and our expanding local language content portfolio in priority markets, we see a clear opportunity to further expand and diversify our global footprint this year.”
“The rapid reopening of China has been stunning and a powerful reminder of what we can deliver in the market given the strength of our brand, experience, and content portfolio of Hollywood and local blockbusters. With Hollywood tentpoles like Avatar: The Way of Water and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania gaining day-and-date Chinese releases, and Chinese-made blockbusters like The Wandering Earth 2 and Full River Red drawing big audiences, China is fast reasserting itself as one of the world’s biggest moviegoing markets.”
IMAX Technology Network
IMAX Technology Network revenues decreased 11 percent to $45.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. Box office from IMAX locations in Q4 of $252 million was down 9.3 percent from Q4 of 2021 driven by China. Avatar delivered $140 million in box office in the last two weeks of December with 11 percent market share on less than 1 percent of screens and comprising more than half of Q4’s total IMAX box office.
Gross margin for the IMAX Technology Network was $27.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to $36.8 million in the prior year period driven by lower revenues and higher marketing investments.
IMAX Technology Sales and Maintenance
IMAX Technology Sales and Maintenance revenues and gross margin decreased 10 percent to $48.0 million and 11 percent to $23.2 million, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2022 which reflects a one-time release of $6.3 million in deferred maintenance revenue that benefitted Q4 of 2021.
During the fourth quarter the Company installed 52 systems compared to 30 systems in the fourth quarter of 2021, of those, 24 systems were under sales and sales-type lease and hybrid JRSA arrangements compared to 26 systems in the prior year.
Operating Cash Flow and Liquidity
Net cash provided by operating activities was $17.3 million for full-year 2022, compared to $6.1 million for full-year 2021.
As of December 31, 2022, the Company’s available liquidity was $415.5 million including its balance of cash and cash equivalents of $97.4 million, $275.0 million in available borrowing capacity under the Credit Facility and $43.1 million in available borrowing capacity under IMAX China’s revolving facilities. Total debt, excluding deferred financing costs was $270.7 million as of December 31, 2022.
Share Count and Capital Return
The weighted average basic and diluted shares outstanding in the fourth quarter of 2022 were 54.8 million and 55.7 million, respectively, compared to 58.9 million and 59.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2021.
During the fourth quarter of 2022, the Company repurchased 1.9 million shares at an average price of $14.01 for a total of $26.6 million. For the full year, the Company repurchased 5.4 million shares at an average price of $15.19 for a total of $82.0 million and 9.2 percent of the beginning of year share count.
In 2021, the Company issued $230.0 million of 0.500 percent Convertible Senior Notes due 2026 (“Convertible Notes”). In connection with the pricing of the Convertible Notes, the Company entered into privately negotiated capped call transactions with an initial cap price of $37.2750 per share of the Company’s common shares.
Additionally, for the full year, IMAX China repurchased 3.0 million shares at an average price of $1.02 for a total cost of $3.0 million.
As of December 31, 2022, a total of $193.4 million remains available under the Company’s outstanding share repurchase authorisation.