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Drop in ticket sales near protest sites

Filmgoers opting for other cinemas, Major Cineplex says

Major Cineplex, the operator of multiplex cinema theatres, said there has been a significant decline in ticket sales at cinemas near protest sites.

Suparee Jayapoom, investor-relations executive at Major Cineplex Plc, said ticket sales at cinemas close to protest sites had dropped continuously month by month, but were not at a critical level yet. In comparison, other Major branches located elsewhere showed significant growth.

"Many moviegoers now choose to watch films at locations away from protest sites because they want to avoid traffic problems. We believe that Thai consumers will be able make adjustments to deal with the situation. We don't expect this ongoing political problem to be as bad as the 2011 flood crisis, which had a massive impact on the company," she said.

Suparee said Major Cineplex has not adjusted its sales target set for this year, which is projected to increase between 10 and 20 per cent. The company posted about 20 per cent growth in its ticket sales last year, while 12 per cent growth came from store sales.

"We hope the political conflict is settled quickly so it does not have an impact on our performance," she said.

Suparee also said the company's share price had dropped significantly, as individual investors were concerned about the political impact. However, Major believes its share price would return to normal once its performance for 2013 fiscal year is announced.

"Our evaluation shows the ratio of foreign holders of the company's shares still rising, despite the strong outflow of foreign capital elsewhere," she said, adding that about 40 per cent of its shares, excluding Non-Voting Depository Receipts (NVDRs), were owned by the company itself.

The price of Major Cineplex (MAJOR) shares has declined continuously since November.

However, an analyst at Phillip Securities (Thailand) said the multiplex had a stronger line-up of foreign blockbusters for this year compared to last year. The blockbusters coming to local screens soon include "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", "The Amazing Spider Man 2", "X-Men: Days of Future Past", "Transformer 4", "Fast and Furious 7", "Resident Evil 6", "The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1: and "The Hobbit: There and Back Again". Major Cineplex's subsidiary MPIC will also produce about 12 Thai films this year to support its theatres located upcountry.

In addition, Major will add an additional 40 to 50 screens each year, mainly in the provinces. Most of these new theatres will use digital technology, which will also allow the company to raise its ticket prices and keep the staff numbers down. It also aims to increase the number of e-ticket terminals at its cinema complexes and is negotiating a higher profit-sharing deal with film distributors. Major also plans to open multiplexes in Cambodia by mid this year.


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