Cinepo­lis In­dia Plans 1,500-cr Ex­pan­sion

The Economic Times - - Brands & Companies - Gau­rav.Laghate @times­

Mum­bai: Cinepo­lis In­dia, the wholly-owned sub­sidiary of 71year old Mex­i­can mul­ti­plex ma­jor Cinepo­lis, has de­cided to up its game in In­dia and is ready to pump in over ₹ 1,500 crore here for the next 500 screens, a top ex­ec­u­tive said.

The com­pany, which cur­rently op­er­ates 350 screens in In­dia, is way be­hind its tar­get of 500 screens by 2016. It is now look­ing at 400 screens by end of 2018. How­ever, De­vang Sam­pat, its di­rec­tor for strate­gic ini­tia­tives, said the com­pany aims to reach the 1,000 screen mark in the coun­try.

“We are grow­ing or­gan­i­cally, al­beit slower than what we would like. We al­ready have 500 more screens signed and locked,” Sam­pat told ET. “We don’t com­pro­mise on qual­ity and are fo­cussed on pro­vid­ing same qual­ity across met­ros as well as B and C towns. So we will in­cur about ₹ 3 crore per screen cost.”

The pace of new screen ad­di­tion has slowed down in the coun­try in the last cou­ple of years, with just about 200 new screens com­ing up an­nu­ally. The top three play­ers, PVR, Inox and Cinepo­lis are adding 4050 screens each. How­ever, while oth­ers made ag­gres­sive ac­qui­si­tions, Cinepo­lis has been very choosy in that area. And slow pace of real es­tate de­vel­op­ment took it a decade to reach 300 screens.

“We have been look­ing at ac­qui­si­tions ac­tively. We surely look at, and will con­tinue to look at, the op­por­tu­ni­ties wher­ever qual­ity is not com­pro­mised and we see a long term ben­e­fit,” said Javier So­tomayor, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Cinepo­lis Asia.

Cinepo­lis, the world’s sec­ond­largest mul­ti­plex com­pany by ad­mis­sions (339 mil­lion last year) and fourth largest in terms of screens (over 5,300), had en­tered in In­dia in De­cem­ber 2009 with its fourscreen plex in Am­rit­sar. Then, it had an­nounced plans to open 500 screens by 2016 and had signed 160 screens in 10 cities.

On the side, it made its first ac­qui­si­tion of Es­sel Group-owned Fun Cin­e­mas, which op­er­ated 83 screens across 24 prop­er­ties, in Jan­uary 2015. Later it also ac­quired seven screens of DLF-owned DT Cin­e­mas, which PVR could not ac­quire as per a Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia (CCI) di­rec­tive. “There are very few prop­er­ties which make sense for us to ac­quire. Our fo­cus is on cre­at­ing top qual­ity in-audi ex­pe­ri­ence, for which we are known for across the world,” So­tomayor em­pha­sised.

It was Cinepo­lis, which in­tro­duced re­cliner seats in mul­ti­plexes in 1997.

Pace of adding new screens slowed down in the last few years, with just 200 new screens com­ing up an­nu­ally

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