posted a fourth-quarter profit and put itself on the block.
The Toronto-based movie technology company said it hired Allen & Co. to evaluate strategic alternatives. The move comes as Imax has mostly failed to win over skeptics on Wall Street who question the company's prospects for delivering steady growth. Imax makes money by signing up theaters for its 3D movie technology, but despite an uptick in signings and a number of blockbuster releases in the format, Imax shares have spent five years languishing mostly in the mid- to high-single digits.
"We believe we are exceptionally well-positioned to take the next step forward in our evolution as a brand and as a company. We believe we can accelerate our growth and realize the full potential of Imax more quickly and effectively with a strategic partner or acquirer," said CEOs Richard Gelfond and Bradley Wechsler.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the company made $10.8 million, or 26 cents a share, from continuing operations, up from the year-ago $7.6 million, or 19 cents a share. Revenue rose to $49.3 million from $47.5 million a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for a 26-cent profit on revenue of $50.4 million.
During the fourth quarter, the company signed agreements for eight Imax theater systems, bringing total signings for the year to 45 theater systems, including one subject to a condition. By comparison, the company signed deals for 36 theater systems in 2004 and 25 in 2003.