Multiplex stocks bounce back despite empty theatres

Bloomberg August 24 | Updated on August 24, 2020

Cost cuts and sufficient liquidity will aid threatre operators to ride through the disruption.   -  Bloomberg

Theatre operators PVR, Inox Leisure have rebounded about 50 per cent since May

Investors are piling into multiplex operators’ stocks in India despite the box office window being shut for four months, hoping that cost cuts and sufficient liquidity will aid the companies to ride through the disruption.

Theatre operators PVR Ltd. and Inox Leisure Ltd. have rebounded about 50 per cent since May, after at least three consecutive months of losses when the world’s strictest lockdown halted visits to shopping malls, restaurants and the movies. Cinemas are still waiting for restrictions to ease to welcome back the audience with safety measures ranging from socially-distance seating and sanitised auditoriums, to snacks prepared with stricter hygiene checks.

“We expect this fiscal year to be largely a disrupted year due to Covid-19. Nonetheless, we are encouraged by the initial response seen in other markets where theaters have reopened,” Anurag Dayal and Amit Sachdeva, analysts with HSBC Securities and Capital Market India Pvt. said in a note to clients. They reiterated their buy rating on PVR and Inox.

PVR has 18 buys, six holds and four sells. Inox has 16 buys, three holds and a sell, according to recommendations compiled by Bloomberg. The data show both stocks have run past their price targets, with PVR at ₹1,309.65 on Friday versus a ₹1,208.56 consensus and Inox at ₹303.60 compared with ₹289.78. PVR, the nation’s largest operator of multi-screen theatres, gained as much as 1.7 per cent while Inox Leisure Ltd. fell as much as 2.2 per cent on Monday.

“We see multiplexes as an exponential growth opportunity, a phase that is still due in India,” the analysts wrote in the note. “We expect multiplex to remain a preferred choice for big launches for the buzz and experience it provides.”

Published on August 24, 2020

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