Multiplex operator to join stock market

HONG KONG — Chennai-based Pyramid Saimira Theater is set to become the fourth Indian multiplex operator to join the stock market in the last 12 months.

It announced Wednesday that its initial public offering was 15 times subscribed, raising INR844 million ($19 million).

Company, which used to work primarily in film production, not exhibition, is by some measures already India’s largest hardtop owner.

Pyramid expects to double the number of screens it operates from 148 screens to 350 by March.

It is aiming for 2,000 screens at 1,550 locations by 2010 as it expands north into Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan away from its stronghold in the South.

Built into the fund-raising exercise is a substantial chunk of cash for digital screening facilities. Business model sees digital as lower cost than traditional equipment allowing it to operate profitably in smaller cities, where occupancy levels are usually lower than larger cities.

Pyramid is also counting on creating a network spanning so many regions that it will have significant negotiating power with studios and distributors.

In December last year Adlabs floated on the stock market. That was followed by IPOs of Priya Village Roadshow and Inox Leisure.

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