Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sir Cameron's Bonanza as Theatreland Bounces Back; CITY BRIEFING

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sir Cameron's Bonanza as Theatreland Bounces Back; CITY BRIEFING

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT LEA

AN end to the doom and gloom in Theatreland has seen Sir Cameron Mackintosh's West End moneymaking machine increase profits by more than 40% - and pay the impresario himself a generous [pounds sterling]6.7 million.

Mackintosh's company, which is behind hits such as Cats, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Mary Poppins, owns seven London theatres and has reported profits of [pounds sterling]9.1 million.

The bumper year coming after the dire days of the post-9/11 tourism recession enabled Mackintosh to pay himself a [pounds sterling]5.5 million dividend from the profits as well as a salary of [pounds sterling]785,000 and further payments of [pounds sterling]500,000 into his pension pot. Mackintosh turn 60 next year.

As well as a rebound in the fortunes of the West End, the payments represent a recovery in Mackintosh's own earnings.

The man who is reckoned to be worth about [pounds sterling]400 million paid himself [pounds sterling]2.2 million for the previous year and [pounds sterling]3 million the year before that.

"Our business is susceptible to doom and gloom, but overall business is on the up following the dreaded 2001 when tourism took such a bath.

"The theatre remains one of the most quoted reasons for coming to London," said Mackintosh's managing director Nick Allott.

"The London-based shows have been good, as has the theatreowning business, which has done well on the back of being the landlord to Mamma Mia [at the refurbished Prince of Wales Theatre]."

Allott said Far Eastern tours of Oliver! and Miss Saigon opening in Shanghai boosted profits from shows in Asia by 80% "We are casting our net farther afield and everyone is looking to China and Far East," he said.

However, earnings have still not recovered to pre-9/11 levels when Mackintosh's company made profits of [pounds sterling]11 million.

And Allott warned that profits may not be so good this year after the increased spending involved in putting on Mackintosh's first big blockbuster for some time - Mary Poppins, starring Laura Michelle Kelly - as well as the cost of spending [pounds sterling]7 million on refurbishing the Prince of Wales Theatre. …

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