Cineplex Inc. raised its dividend as it reported a first-quarter loss of $7.4-million as fewer people went to the movies.
The theatre company says it will now pay a monthly dividend of 15 cents a share for a total of $1.80 a share on an annual basis, up from 14.5 cents a month for a total of $1.74 on an annual basis.
The loss amounted to 12 cents a share for the quarter ended March 31, as the company made an accounting change related to its lease payments. The result compared with a profit of $15.2-million or 24 cents a share in the first quarter of last year.
Revenue fell to $364.9-million compared with $390.9-million in the first quarter of 2018, when Cineplex benefited from the release of Black Panther in theatres.
Theatre attendance in the quarter was down 15.6 per cent compared with a year ago, while box office revenue per patron edged up to $10.44, compared with $10.21 a year ago.
Concession revenue per patron also rose to $6.35 compared with $6.09 in the first quarter last year.