New Delhi-headquartered PVR Cinemas has signed a deal with UAE based Al-Futtaim as it looks to expand into the lucrative Middle East market.
PVR Limited, formed in 1995 through a joint venture between Priya Exhibitors Private Limited and Village Roadshow Limited, has a strong presence in India with 630 screens in 135 locations across 52 cities in India.
According to a disclosure on Bombay Stock Exchange, the joint venture will aim at bringing a collection of unique experiential cinema formats to the MENA region. The JV will also introduce PVR’s Director’s Cut—a format that blends the best in high-end hospitality and entertainment—in the Arab world.
PVR’s push into the region comes as the GCC’s largest economy Saudi Arabia opened cinemas after a period of 35 years.
Majid Al Futtaim-owned VOX Cinemas, Gulf Film Group’s Novo Cinemas, Reel Cinemas dominate the region’s cinema chain market, but seasoned players from other mature markets are looking to enter the region. The US’ largest cinema chain AMC Theatres recently opened a cinema in Saudi while Seoul-headquartered CJ 4DPLEX is planning to open a 4DX cinema in the Kingdom.
Many Indian cinema chains, which have rapidly expanded thanks to a $3 billion film industry within the country, are now eying a move overseas to the Middle East.
Reports had emerged earlier this year that India’s Carnival Cinemas and UAE’s Emirates National Holdings were reportedly in talks to buy Qatar-based Novo Cinemas which operates 129 screens and 24,000 across 15 locations in UAE, Qatar and Bahrain. But there has been no conclusive update on such a deal.
Commenting on its entry in the money-spinning cinema market in the region Ajay Bijli, Chairman and Managing Director of PVR Limited said: “We see a great opportunity in taking the PVR brand to the MENA region, particularly expansion in UAE and entry into the Saudi Arabian market which has recently decided to open up the cinema industry.”
Local cinema giant VOX Cinemas too is on an investment spree in Saudi Arabia. The cinema-operator is investing over $540 million (SAR 2 billion) to open 600 screens in the next five years in the Kingdom.
A publicly-listed company, PVR Limited has a market cap of $948.6 million as on July 11, 2018.