Mukta A2 Cinemas plans to add 60 screens in 18 months

Mukta A2 Cinemas, the theatre chain subsidiary of Mukta Arts Ltd of film director Subhash Ghai, is planning to add 50 to 60 screens in the next 18 months, a top company executive said.

"We want to have more than 100 screens and will add 50 to 60 screens in 18 months This will involve a capital investment of up to ₹70 crore," Rahul Puri, MD, Mukta Arts, said in an interview.

"Funds for the expansion would be mobilised from whatever cash is generated from the business and we are also looking at how we can raise the money from some kind of strategic share [sale], a strategic partnership or alliance or it could be anything," said Mr. Puri.

"We are looking for somebody who can understand the vision for our business and provide us with the resources which we need to grow. It could be a strategic or financial investor," he added.

The company ventured into the cinema business in 2011 when it opened up two multiplexes having four screens each at Vadodara and Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Now, with 72 screens across the country, including the JV that it has with Asian Cinemas in South India, the company said there was vast scope for growth.

He said said the company is focusing on screens that can add value, are profitable and that are going to make sense for the company's stakeholders.

"South is a market of our interest. Again, I think, we are headed where we find good value. So, we are looking at places that do not have strong multiplexes or we are looking at a properties at a place where you can fulfil a niche. The southern part of India is under-screened (not in terms of single screens, but in terms of multiplexes), so that's a destination we find interesting," he added.

Over 45% of Mukta Art's revenue come from Mukta A2 Cinemas. Last year, with a top-line of ₹80 crore, Mukta Arts' EBITDA stood at ₹5.5 crore and posted a cash loss. However, for this year, it is eyeing to turn profitable

In terms of ticket prices, Mukta's average ticket price is about ₹150 compared with competitors who charge₹180-₹200 or more. "So, we are significantly affordable and a value-for-money proposition," Mr. Puri added.

Source: The Hindu