PPB set to ride on film block­busters, tap re­gional mar­kets

New Straits Times - - Business -

KUALA LUMPUR: PPB Group Bhd, which has a RM20 bil­lion mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion, ex­pects a re­bound this year for its film ex­hi­bi­tion and distri­bu­tion divi­sion that would help earn­ings growth in the fu­ture.

Its film ex­hi­bi­tion and distri­bu­tion arm, GSC Screen Cin­e­mas chief ex­ec­u­tive Koh Mei Lee said the strat­egy is to ride on up­com­ing block­buster movies and tap grow­ing mar­kets in South­east Asia.

“This year would be bet­ter com­pared with last year for GSC. The line-up of films is ex­pected to be stronger this year with a con­tin­u­ous re­lease of block­busters,” she said.

Koh said the com­pany was look­ing to ex­pand into po­ten­tial mar­kets in South­east Asia, par­tic­u­larly In­dochina, through strate­gic part­ner­ships and ac­qui­si­tions and fur­ther grow cinema oper­a­tions’ earn­ings base by ven­tur­ing into com­pli­men­tary busi­nesses.

“In In­dochina, we are tar­get­ing to open six new cin­e­mas with 37 screens in Viet­nam and nine screes in Cambodia to tap,” she said.

Koh said Viet­nam mar­ket is un­der-served although it has more than 90 mil­lion pop­u­la­tion while Malaysia has only 30 mil­lion plus.

Mean­while, the com­pany is also open­ing more lo­cal cin­e­mas to boost the group’s to­tal earn­ings growth.

Koh said GSC will open three new cin­e­mas, namely MyTown Shop­ping Cen­tre (Cheras), Melawati Mall (Melawati) and Par­a­digm Mall (Jo­hor Baru).

It was re­ported RM215 mil­lion of its cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture would be used to ex­pand its film ex­hi­bi­tion and distri­bu­tion arm.

Last year, the group’s earn­ings were dragged down by its con­sumer prod­ucts and film ex­hi­bi­tion and distri­bu­tion di­vi­sions.

The film divi­sion reg­is­tered a lower net profit of RM59 mil­lion last year, from RM65.6 mil­lion a year ago.

PPB Group manag­ing direc­tor Lim Soon Huat said grains and agribusi­ness would con­tinue to help sus­tain the group’s per­for­mance this year.

”We are con­fi­dent of main­tain­ing our mar­ket lead­ing po­si­tion de­spite in­tense com­pe­ti­tion in the flour mar­kets in Malaysia, In­done­sia and Viet­nam.

”The com­ple­tion of our mills in Pasir Gu­dang, Jo­hor, and Ba Ria Vung Tau, Viet­nam, would en­hance our per­for­mance,” he said.

Its grains and agribusi­ness con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cantly to the com­pany’s bot­tom line last year and beat an­a­lysts’ ex­pec­ta­tion.

A larger sell­ing vol­ume base this year would give a fur­ther up­side to the group’s earn­ings, said an an­a­lyst. Amir Hisyam Rasid

PIC BY FARIZ ISWADI IS­MAIL

(From left) Chemquest Sdn Bhd manag­ing direc­tor Leong Yew Weng, GSC Screen Cin­e­mas chief ex­ec­u­tive Koh Mei Lee, PPB Group ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Datuk Ong Hung Hock, PPB Group chair­man Tan Sri Oh Siew Nam, PPB Group manag­ing direc­tor Lim Soon Huat, PPB Group chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Leong Choy Ying, PPB Group (prop­er­ties) chief oper­at­ing of­fi­cer Chew Hwei Yeow and com­pany sec­re­tary Mah Teck Keong af­ter the com­pany’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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