Golden Harvest plans HK$100m mainland push

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 January, 2007, 12:00am

Golden Harvest Entertainment (Holdings), which distributes films and operates cinemas across Asia, will invest as much as HK$100 million to open two multiplex cinemas in Suzhou and Hangzhou, company executives said.

Shareholders of the Hong Kong-listed company passed a resolution yesterday to sell its 40.22 per cent stake in a Malaysian joint venture, with 108 screens in 18 locations, to partner PPB Group.

The HK$189 million consideration for the sale would fund the mainland expansion, the company said in the deal document.

'The two new multiplexes in Suzhou and Hangzhou will have 13 screens and 10 screens, respectively, with over 5,000 seats in total,' managing director Phoon Chiong-kit said after the shareholders' meeting yesterday. 'The scale will be much larger than our Shenzhen' multiplex.

Mr Phoon said some investors had approached the company about taking stakes in the two projects, which are expected to open next year and in 2009.

The investment for the Suzhou project would be about HK$35 million and for the Hangzhou about HK$60 million.

The company's Golden Harvest Shenzhen, which opened in 2005, will add five screens with a total of 1,000 seats this year. Mr Phoon also said the company would invest HK$50 million to HK$60 million in Shenzhen to set up two more cinemas.

Golden Harvest Shenzhen accounted for 44 per cent market share of box office in mainland cinemas last year, the company said.

Golden Harvest plans to expand its cinema network in eastern China, including in cities such as Shanghai, Ningbo and Wuxi. No details were given.

The company is also expanding in Taipei, where it has one multiplex.

Golden Harvest and its local partner would open a multiplex in city, it said, without giving details.

Another complex with nine screens and 1,800 seats was scheduled to open next to the Taipei railway station in 2009, Mr Phoon said.

PPB Group is part of the Kuok Group, which controls the SCMP Group, publisher of the South China Morning Post.

Golden Harvest shares were last traded at 22.8 HK cents.