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SF targets cinema expansion in emerging CLMV economies

Jan 28. 2016
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By Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn

The

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SF Corporation plans to explore the cinema business in CLMV countries in the next two years.

The company will also spend Bt600 million in Thailand this year to open five new cinemas in The Crystal Ekkamai-Ramindra, Big C Bang Phli, CentralPlaza Nakhon Si Thammarat, Terminal 21 Nakhon Ratchasima and Robinson Lifestyle Centre Lop Buri.

Chief executive officer Suwat Thongrompo said yesterday the company has identified great "blue ocean" opportunities for the cinema and other entertainment businesses in the rapidly emerging economies of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, which are known as the CLMV countries.

The economies require significant players and time to be developed, Suwat said.

"Our key success criteria and concerns are to acquire the right prime locations and find the right partners, particularly in the CLMV countries.

"Our cineplexes will range widely in size from three to four screens up to eight to 10 screens depending on the location. Average investment per screen will be Bt15 million," he said.

"We have been proposed [to] by potential investors in all CLMV countries to open theatres in their own market," he said.

Sivit Thongrompo, chief operating officer, said some negotiations with potential partners were more than 50 per cent finalised.

Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam would be the priorities, he said, adding that Laos’s cinema market will take time to be developed and ready for foreign investors.

"Regarding the different regulations applied in those markets, we can better utilise space for our cinemas. That means we can open more screens at certain locations with the same space as Thailand," Sivit said.

In Thailand, SF runs theatres at 47 locations in Bangkok and 22 in the provinces with 316 screens and 70,000 seats. The 47th cineplex opens today at The Crystal Ekkamai-Ramindra with eight screens and 1,450 seats. It cost Bt200 million to open, which the company plans to recoup within five to seven years based on projections it will cater to about 600,000 moviegoers per year.

SF Corporation earned Bt300 million on Bt4 billion in revenue last year. Revenue was up 10 per cent over 2014.

This year, its aims to achieve Bt5 billion in total revenue and Bt380 million in profit, a 20-per-cent increase from last year.

About 65 per cent of revenue will come from ticket sales and the rest from concessions and other sources.

"We expect to see a strong line-up of Hollywood blockbusters this year, especially superhero and franchised films," he said.

The firm is preparing to list on the local stock exchange to raise funds for future expansion and build an international image, but is waiting for market and investor sentiment to improve.

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