Cineplex Inc.’s top executive says the theatre giant has taken steps to improve its balance sheet as the company reports first-quarter earnings. 

Cineplex released quarterly results on Thursday, saying the sale of its arcade game business spurred stronger earnings. The theatre giant turned a profit in the quarter, compared to a loss during the same period last year. 

”We've done a lot. In the first quarter in the first quarter, we basically refinanced our balance sheet. I feel that as we move forward and we continue to prove what we are doing, we will succeed,” Ellis Jacob, the Cineplex chief executive officer, said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Thursday. 

“The fact that we got through COVID-19 (and) the strikes, I think we've basically proven that we can deliver and focus on growing this business into the future and giving shareholders a great return,” Jacob said. 

Cineplex earned $5.2 million during the first quarter, compared to a $30.2 million loss a year earlier. The company said it recorded a $67.3 million gain from the sale of its Player One Amusement Group. 

Revenue reached $294.8 million during the first quarter, up from $291.4 million a year earlier. 

Jacob also added that the company may look at the possibility of bringing back its dividend in the future. 

“One of the concerns is that shareholders are looking for dividends like we used to pay in the past. And we will readdress that once our leverage is in a stronger position, which I expect will be in the next nine to 12 months and we will be there,” he said.  

Jacob also sees premium offerings as an integral part of the business going forward. 

“We basically deliver 41 per cent of our box office on premium formats, like UltraAVX, IMAX, VIP… so that's something that we'll continue to improve and build,” he said.

“In addition to that we give our guests a wide array of content even beyond movies, in the fact that we've got concerts, we've got other, activities that are taking place at our locations.”

With files from the Canadian Press.