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Expansion ahead for Major Cineplex

Chairman Vicha Poolvaraluck said 26 of the screens would be developed at the Mega Bangna shopping complex in Bang Na and at Seacon Bangkhae, under renovation on Phetkasem Road.

The other 24 will open at other retail sites such as CentralPlaza shopping complexes, Big C and Tesco Lotus.

The additional 50 will bring the number of screens run by Major to 425 by the end of 2012.

“We haven’t seen much impact in the short term,” Mr Vicha said yesterday of the current floods.

“The massive flood is still better than the 1997 financial crisis when many millionaires went bankrupt. The flood disaster has affected middle- and low-income people the most.”

Mr Vicha said Major was forced by the flooding to close 12 cinema branches out of 56 nationwide. All the temporarily closed branches were just surrounded by floodwaters, not submerged.

Three of the complexes have since reopened _ in Ayutthaya, Pin Klao and Chaeng Watthana.

“Though nine of our theatre complexes are still closed since October, we are surprised that our ticket sales during this flooding period grew by 20% over the same period last year,” he said.

If there were no floods, Major’s cinema business would be growing by 40-50%.

The current sharp rise in ticket sales reflects a strong lineup of blockbuster films aired during the period. For example, 30 Sode on Sale grossed 70-80 million baht in ticket sales, while 30 Kamlang Jaew, which is being screened now, has so far made 30-50 million baht.

Moreover, the cinema chain operator has had brisk business from its theatres in Pattaya, Chon Buri and Hua Hin, all destinations for people seeking refuge from the floods.

Dry areas in Bangkok, such as Ekamai, have also performed well.

Mr Vicha is confident of hitting sales targets this year, but net earnings may miss projections by a bit.

Major earned a third-quarter net profit of 215.27 million baht, up marginally 214.15 million in the same period last year. Nine-month consolidated net profit was 701 million baht, compared with 506.8 million a year earlier.

MAJOR shares closed yesterday on the SET at 13.10 baht, down 20 satang, in trade worth 17.37 million baht.

Source: Bangkok Post

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