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Imax May Sell Itself to Help Boost Growth

From Times Wire Services

Imax Corp. said Thursday that it was casting for a buyer or merger partner of its big screen movie system business to accelerate growth after receiving several unsolicited inquiries.

The Mississauga, Canada-based company said it had hired investment banks Allen & Co. and UBS as its financial advisors to consider its alternatives.

Imax has become a leader in giant-screen cinema installations, with 266 theaters in 38 countries. The company signed contracts for eight more theater systems in the fourth quarter, taking the year’s orders to 45, up from 36 in 2004.

Also Thursday, the company said its fourth-quarter profit rose to $12 million, or 29 cents a share, from $7.8 million, or 19 cents, a year earlier.

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Revenue expanded to $49.3 million from $47.5 million, while selling, general and administrative expenses were cut to $8.3 million from $11.5 million.

The company cited a strong holiday box-office performance by the Imax release of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” which has grossed more than $20 million to date, and “The Polar Express,” which grossed $15 million in its second release. Imax shares rose 85 cents to $10.35.

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The Associated Press and Reuters were used in compiling this report.

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