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Imax Jumps to Highest Since July on Screen Growth: Toronto Mover

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Imax Corp., a maker of giant-screen theater systems, climbed to its highest level in three months after an expansion into foreign markets including China helped deliver third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates.

Imax rose 3.6 percent to C$22.40 at the close in Toronto, the highest price since July 27. The shares have advanced 20 percent this year.

Chief Executive Officer Richard Gelfond said on a conference call today that the company installed 14 theaters in China in the third quarter. Imax will also install 110 to 125 theater systems globally in 2013, compared with 110 this year.

“Imax continues to be a top choice for people-entertainment dollars in China,” Gelfond said.

Imax installed a total of 33 theaters in the quarter, and now has 689 theaters in 52 countries.

The company is also benefitting as more directors choose to custom shoot blockbusters in an Imax-compatible format, as Sam Mendes did with “Skyfall,” the latest installation in the James Bond series, Gelfond said.

“We have found that movies that leverage Imax differentiation whether they are shot with our cameras, specially filmed for our unique aspect ratio, tend to drive higher box office results for us as well as for our exhibitor and studio partner,” Gelfond said.

Profit excluding some items climbed 86 percent to 26 cents a share in the quarter, the Mississauga, Ontario-based company said today in a statement. That beat the 20-cent average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Imax is benefitting from “strong box office performance combined with robust screen growth,” said James Marsh, an analyst at Piper Jaffray in New York.

“We remain optimistic about the performance of Imax shares ahead of the holiday season,” said Marsh, who rates Imax the equivalent of a buy.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Toronto at hugomiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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