PBB eyes expansion into China's cinema business

KUALA LUMPUR: PPB Group Bhd, which owns Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd (GSC), plans to expand into China's cinema business.

GSC chief executive officer, Koh Mei Lee, said PPB was in the midst of exploring new opportunities for the cinema business, after making it a hit in Malaysia.

"We are currently exploring opportunities and are in the midst of discussion with a big Chinese firm involved in the cinema and entertainment industry," she told Bernama after a media briefing on the company's first-half financial year 2011 results here today.

The venture into China was not PPB's first as it had earlier this year, disposed of its 20 per cent stake in FFM Bhd to Wilmar International in return for acquiring a similar percentage in Wilmar International's China flour mills.

Koh said PBB planed to invest RM105 million on capital expenditure to open more cineplexes in Malaysia.

"The money will be used by GSC to open new cinemas and upgrade movie screens in the second half of 2011 and next year "New cinemas will be opened in Mentakab (Pahang) and Miri (Sarawak).".

She said 2012 would be a busy year as the company planned to open up to ten cinemas.

Koh said currently the company has 23 cinemas nationwide with 191 screens.

"We are also looking at upgrading the existing movie screens to digital 3D," she said, adding that for the second half of 2011 the company would upgrade another 15 movie screens.

The company has so far upgraded 43 movie screens in its cinemas, she said.

She said GSC, which controlled some 40 per cent of the box-office segment, aimed to maintain the stake in the second half of this year.

"The business environment is tough now as other operators are also opening new cinemas to compete with us," she said. - BERNAMA

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