PVR | Societe Generale acquired 10,01,813 shares in company at Rs 1,519.52 per share on the BSE. However, Multiples Private Equity Fund sold 3,01,309 shares at Rs 1,517.54 per share and Multiples Private Equity Fund I 8,78,153 shares at Rs 1,517.91 per share.
After a dull year in 2020, multiplex operators have started focusing on screen expansion plans and one such player is PVR that launched nine new screens on March 5.
PVR has launched three new screens in Kanpur by upgrading existing property called Deep Cinemas which will accommodate 583 audiences.
With this addition, PVR now has 83 screens across 18 properties in Uttar Pradesh and 261 screens and 60 properties in Northern India.
Along with Kanpur, PVR launched a six-screen multiplex in Mysuru which and can accommodate a total of 1,078 audiences. Post this, PVR has 109 screens in 16 properties in Karnataka and 292 screens across 47 properties in South.
In all, PVR has a total of 844 screens at 177 properties in 71 cities including India and Sri Lanka.
Talking to Moneycontrol, Pramod Arora, Chief Growth & Strategy Officer, PVR Ltd, said that they had time to think of a strategy last year for screen expansion.
"We were thinking how single screens that are lying defunct how they can be upgraded. PVR's first property in Delhi was also converted from an existing cinema. Kanpur (Deep Cinemas) is an example on how you can convert a dud asset into a huge monetizing ability. And this sort of opportunity lies across the country where in many of the real asset properties are lying waste. Now they can be rechristened to a brand new development. Plus, these are already landmark properties so the audience knows them."
So, it is the developer who is investing the money in refurbishing the cinemas and against that PVR has raised revenue share between them and the developers.
"We believe in asset light model which now is becoming asset lighter," added Arora.
When it comes to markets, Arora said that the skew for this year in terms of screen additions will be 60 percent B&C towns and 40 percent A towns. "This skew will be more towards B&C in the coming years. B&C towns have been sitting dud for so many years. So, they will get traction now. There is money in these territories, there are consumers in these territories but no infrastructure," he said.
Overall, for FY 2020-21, PVR has plans to launch 30 new screens and by next financial year the company expects to reach to pre-pandemic patterns in terms of screen expansion which used to be addition of around 40 or more screens every year.
Also, the company had launched 87 screens in FY 2019-20.
Screen expansion by major multiplexes is good news considering that around 1,000 single screens are estimated to have shut shop permanently due to coronavirus impact.
Plus, exhibitors are betting big on the strong content slate planned for this year. While there have been small Bollywood films that have come to theatres this year, a medium-size film Roohi starring Rajkumar Rao and Janhvi Kapoor will release on March 11. After Roohi, there is a slew of big and medium-size Bollywood ventures waiting to be released in theatres this year.
This year around 50 to 60 Bollywood films are likely to release in theatres.
Also, many states have allowed theatres to operate at full capacity including West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, among others. PVR has presence in 17 states out of which it is operating at 100 percent capacity in 13 states and four union territories.
This is why Arora is expecting the exhibition business to go back to normal.
However, there are certain concerns one of them being the surge in cases in Maharashtra which is a key territory for cinemas. It contributes 26 percent to overall box office collections of Hindi films.