Poolworaluk denies firm faces financial difficulties
BANGKOK — Thailand’s two largest cinema chains Major Cineplex Group and EGV Entertainment are merging.The new entity will dominate the market with 250 screens and a 70% share. Thailand’s B.0. is expected to grow by 10%-15% this year, to around $109 million. Major CEO Vicha Poolvaraluck said the merger would help two firms pool their strengths for future expansion and cut operating costs. Wichai Poolworaluk (Vicha’s cousin) who is EGV’s CEO and president, denied his firm faced financial difficulties although it has debts of about $30 million. Wichai will still head up his company and said there are no plans for layoffs. The merger sparked fear among moviegoers of a rise in ticket prices, but that was denied. Under the deal, Major Cineplex will issue 120 million new shares in order to buy EGV’s 260 million shares. Each new share will be swapped for 2.27 EGV shares and 11.44 units of EGV warrants. It will result in the delisting of EGV but its cinemas will continue to operate under the EGV banner. Major Cineplex intends to open 100 new screens, including 60 in Bangkok. It’s in talks with an investor in Ho Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to buy two plots of land on which to build multiplexes.