Multiplex chain PVR Cinemas is looking to complete the merger process with “Cinemax” by February next year. The company had in 2012 acquired 135 movie screens of Cinemax India Ltd for Rs 395 crore.

The Gurgaon-based PVR Ltd currently holds 93.19 per cent stake in Cinemax India through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Cine Hospitality Pvt Ltd. Amalgamation of Cinemax India with PVR has been approved in June.

After the acquisition, PVR has 398 screens across 37 cities and is the largest multiplex chain in the country.

Revamp screens

According to Gautam Dutta, Chief Operating Officer, PVR Cinemas, auditing and mapping of Cinemax screens have begun. After the exercise, refurbishing of screens would be carried out in a phase-wise manner.

Around 40 screens across major cities that include Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Chennai will be refurbished in the first phase. The process is likely to be completed in another 18 to 24 months.

“Refurbishing would include appointing new architects and re-designing screens for faster returns,” he told Business Line.

Re-branded entities

Re-branding of some “Cinemax” screens might also be taken up at a later stage. Some screens are likely to be converted into PVR while others might have both the names, an official of the company indicated. Dutta, however, did not reveal the amount that PVR would invest in refurbishing Cinemax screens or how re-branded entities would be positioned.

Apart from exhibition, the BSE-listed company is also into Hollywood film distribution and food and beverage business. It had in 2012-13 reported a consolidated total income of nearly Rs 810 crore.

This fiscal, the company is eyeing an investment of approximately Rs 100 crore to open 50 new movie screens, at an estimated investment of Rs 2 crore per screen.

Most of the new screens would be in tier-II and tier-III towns. According to Dutta, although the company is open to “inorganic growth” (through acquisitions), it prefers malls to set up new screens.

PVR stock closed at Rs 488.75, down by 2.62 per cent, on the BSE on Tuesday.

abhishek.l@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 16, 2013)
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