Exhib shareholder Apax to continue business-as-usual
BERLIN — Local multiplex exhibs Cinemaxx and Ufa, which merged their administrative and managerial operations last year, are reportedly splitting up next month.
Cinemaxx, which holds a 10% stake in Ufa, took operational control in a joint effort to boost efficiency between the two chains in Germany’s highly competitive exhib market.
According to German weekly Der Spiegel, Ufa’s main shareholder, the U.S.-based Apax has decided to go it alone. The company aims to open headquarters in Hamburg and restructure Ufa, which has seen business decline in recent years and seat numbers drop from 90,000 to 60,000. Multiplexes have closed in rural areas but new Ufa theaters are opening in Berlin, Aachen and Heidelberg.
The break-up is a blow to Cinemaxx, which until recently was hailing the partnership as a “milestone.” Publicly-listed Cinemaxx recently posted half-year losses of DM52.3 million ($22.5 million). It has lost top execs in recent months including chief financial officer Marius Schwarz and Chris Koppelmeier, head of the group’s H.-J. Flebbe Filmtheater division.