Cinema City expands aggressively in Central Europe

By FNE Staff

    Cinema City International N.V., the largest multiplex operator in Central and Eastern Europe, signed a lease this week for its fourth large cinema in Bucharest. That makes the company's 13th cinema project on the Romanian market.

    The multiplex will have 14 or 15 screens and will open in the fourth quarter of 2010 in the Park Lake Plaza Shopping Center in northwestern Bucharest. Two other Cinema City multiplexes will open in Bucharest in the third quarter of 2008, and a third, with 20 screens and the first 3D IMAX cinema in Romania, is also planned.

    The strategy is for Romania to become its second-largest market after Poland, the company said in a statement Sept. 17. Cinema City currently operates 61 multiplexes with 508 screens in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bulgaria.

    Cinema City (www.cinemacity.nl) has been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange since December 2006. The Prague-based brokerage Wood & Co. this week reaffirmed its enthusiasm for the stock.

    "Since our ‘buy' report of 9 May, CCI's new multiplex rollout plans for 2007-09 have increased - from 10 to 12 in Poland, from 1 to 2 in Hungary, from 2 to 3 in Israel, and from 6 to 11 - with more announcements to come - in Romania," Wood said in an analyst's note. "Our 2007 EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization] forecast of €42 million is perhaps looking a touch aggressive, but this will depend on 4Q admissions. The precise numbers in 2007 are, to us, less important than the longer-term growth outlook for the company, which still looks great. We're still expecting compound annual EPS growth of over 30% over the next four years."

    Cinema City reported 1H revenues of €80.3 million, a 6.4% rise over 1H 2006, EBITDA of €18.1 million, up 11%, and net profit of €9.5 million, up 21.8%.