Multiplex chain PVR has denied media reports that the promoters are looking to sell their stake to Chinese cinema exhibition giant Wanda. The company refused to comment further, calling it a speculation.
PVR is currently the biggest multiplex chain in the country, with 553 screens across 131 properties in 48 cities across the country. The multiplex business in India underwent a consolidation between 2010 and 2015, which saw the emergence of four national players -- PVR, Inox, Carnival and Cinepolis.
PVR recently completed the acquisition of Delhi-based DT Cinemas, a deal that was in the works for about 18 months. In the end, to comply with Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) guidelines, the company acquired select screens in order to avoid monopoly in certain territories in North India. The Ajay Bijli-led company has earmarked Rs 250-crore capex for FY17 and is looking to add 65 screens this fiscal.
While there has been consolidation in the exhibition business, no new entrant has emerged in India. Carnival, which came into the limelight after its acquisition spree in 2014, was an existing player in Kerala and decided to go national. India has close to 3,000 multiplex screens at the moment, the majority of which belong to the four national players.
Sources reveal that China’s biggest multiplex chain Wanda Cinemas does have its sights set on the Indian market, but is still evaluating prospects and factors like infrastructure and taxation. The chain has 2,700 screens in China and 2,789 screens globally, with presence in Australia and New Zealand through the acquisition of Australian cinema chain Hoyts in 2015.
PVR’s stock price rose to Rs 1,248.55, rising 5.3 per cent at the time of filing the report in reaction to reports about Wanda’s buyout of the promoter’s stake.