Cineworld doubles in size to become new Europe cinema mogul
By Esha Vaish
(Reuters) - British cinema operator Cineworld Group said it would buy Poland-based Cinema City International's movie theatre business, doubling the number of its cinemas to create the second largest chain in Europe.
Cineworld, the UK's only listed cinema chain, said the deal would create a chain of 201 cinemas with 1,852 screens, making the company the second largest player in Europe after private equity-owned Odeon & UCI Group.
Cinema City Chief Executive Mooky Greidinger, who will head the combined company, told Reuters that the chain planned to open 548 screens over the next three years.
Greidinger said some of these projects were already underway and 170 of these screens would be in the United Kingdom.
Cineworld's unlisted British competitor Vue Entertainment bought Poland's No. 2 multiplex operator Multikino last year.
London-listed Cineworld's Chief Financial Officer Philip Bowcock said Poland was an attractive market as its economy was growing faster than those of other eastern European countries such as Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania.
The number of people per cinema screen was around 17,000 in Britain in 2012, while it was nearly double in Poland, according to data from research firm Dodona.
"Fundamentally, the rationale for the deal centers around access to developing economies in Europe, and for Cineworld to leverage all its know-how in the multiplex market to capitalize on the opportunities in these territories," N+1 Singer analyst Sahill Shan wrote in a note. Continued...