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Profits rise at iconic animation studio

The company behind iconic series such as Shaun the Sheep, Wallace and Gromit, and Morph has posted a modest rise in profits during the year the founders and shareholders of the Oscar-winning animation studio turned control of the business over to its employees.

Peter Lord and David Sproxton began their animating partnership at school before registering the Aardman Animations name in 1972.

It has since gone on to produce the likes of Chicken Run and Peter Gabriel’s famous Sledgehammer music video.

For the year to 31 December 2018, Aardman Holdings reported revenues of £28.6m compared to £30.7m.

Pre-tax profits improved, rising from £2.31m to £2.38m.

It was an active year for the business, with Early Man being released in January and work being carried out on the Shaun the Sheep Movie sequel, which was released this year.  A Chicken Run sequel was also announced in the year and was in pre-production.

Elsewhere, a longer form series of Morph was commissioned, while development began on the sixth season of Shaun.

While the commercials division continued to be affected by changes in the advertising market, with revenues having not picked up “since the highs of 2015”, it continued to be a significant contributor to studio profits. The rights division also performed strongly.

At the backend of the year, the founders revealed plans to transfer the majority of Aardman’s shares into a trust, holding them on behalf of the company’s workforce in a move designed to ensure the studio’s independence.

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