Revenues of £941.2mln were down 9% on the prior 12-month period and a fair bit lower than the average City estimate of £1.1bn.
This decline came as growth of 28% in the Family & Brands segment - thanks to a strong performance from Peppa Pig, significant growth from PJ Masks and delivery of new show Cupcake & Dino - was offset by a 13% decline in Film, Television & Music as its strategy adjusted to the shift away from film distribution.
The group said the transition of eOne’s film business was “now largely complete”, with a reduced slate of higher quality titles delivering a 56% increase in average box office revenue per release. Meanwhile, the firm's owned content rights library was independent valued at US$2.0bn, up from US$1.7bn a year ago.
eOne's underlying earnings (EBITDA) were 21% higher at £197.6mln thanks to 37% growth in Family & Brands and a 9% increase in Film, Television & Music, but reported profit before tax dropped to £36.8mln from £64.9mln due to higher impairment charges.
Adjusted diluted earnings per share rose 30% to 25p, 3% ahead of analysts’ forecasts, while reported EPS fell to 2.5p from 12p reflecting the higher one-off charges.
The full year dividend was nudged up by 7% to 1.5p per share, as net cash generation from operating activities doubled to £30mln and net debt ended the year at £341.5mln.
Looking forward, eOne said the Family & Brands would be boosted by new seasons and licensing and merchandising lines for Peppa Pig and PJ Masks, the launch of a new series Ricky Zoom beginning in China, further cost savings in Film, third-party productions including the latest in Keanue Reeves' John Wick series, plus the £178mln acquisition of UK-based Audio Network that was completed post year end.
Shares in eOne were down 4.5% to 439.6p on Tuesday morning.