Hoyts pacts with Argentines

To build up to 160 screens in 3-year period

BUENOS AIRES — Aussie exhibitor Hoyts Cinemas and Argentine construction company Raghsa Construcciones have signed an agreement to build multiplexes in Argentina.

The plan is to open 150 to 160 screens in a 3-year period with a $150 million investment, according to Harold Blank, head of the Cinema Hoyts de Argentina subsid.

Contracts have been signed for a 12-plex in the new Abasto shopping mall in B.A., an 8-screener in Cordoba province and a 14-plex in the Salta province — projects on which Hoyts will spend an initial $23 million.

Hoyts joins Cinemark, General Cinemas, Village Roadshow and National Amusements as foreign investors in the burgeoning Argentine exhibition arena, where admissions rose an estimated 20% to 26 million in 1997.

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