Mumbai: Reliance MediaWorks Ltd, the operator of BIG Cinemas theatre chain, has exited its exhibition business in Malaysia to strengthen its operations in India.
The company controlled by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group has sold its Malaysian business to private equity fund Navis (MGO NAF VI Cinematic Holdings Ltd).
“As part of the ongoing strategic reorganization and to bring greater focus to high growth potential exhibition business in India, RMW has divested 100% stake of BIG Cinemas’ exhibition circuit in Malaysia to MGO NAF VI Cinematic Holdings Ltd (Navis),” Reliance MediaWorks told BSE on Monday without disclosing the financial details.
Reliance MediaWorks owned around 54 screens in Malaysia and according to the company “the circuit has been consistently profitable and contributes a market share of 8% of the box office in Malaysia, with strong parameters in admits, revenue per customer and experience”.
Big Cinemas is the largest theatre chain in the country with over 240 screens in India and 173 screens in the US and three screens in Nepal, in addition to the screens it has in Malaysia. However, RMW’s exhibition business has been under serious financial pressure. In the theatrical business, the loss has widened from Rs.104 crore in FY11 to Rs.166 crore in FY12.
Apart from exiting the space in Malaysia, the theatre chain has closed a few cinema halls even in India in smaller towns due to high rentals. In June, Mint had reported that Big Cinemas has shut screens in Udgir (Maharashtra), Dewas and Shivpur (Madhya Pradesh) as the cinema halls accounted for almost 60% of the company’s revenue in these markets.