Cinemark buys Argentina screens

Growing B.O. makes exhib leader in country

Cinemark Holdings in Argentina has acquired 95 Hoyts General Cinema South America screens to become the country’s leading exhibitor.

The Texas-based company said it acquired the screens in 10 multiplexes in Buenos Aires, Cordoba and Salta for an undisclosed sum. The seller was Chilean asset management company Linzor Capital Partners, which bought the screens from Hoyts in 2007 and kept the Hoyts brand name.

The purchase boosts Cinemark’s screen count to 185 in 20 plexes in Argentina, good for a 39% market share.

Cinemark CEO Alan Stock said in a statement that the move is part of a strategy to expand in Latin America through acquisitions and by building screens. Cinemark now has more than 1,250 screens in Latin America, a quarter of its worldwide total.

The purchase comes as B.O. in Argentina grows. Admissions are expected to expand 7.9% to 41 million admissions this year — the best performance since 2004 — from 38 million in 2010, while gross will grow 32% to $215 million over the same period, according to estimates. A robust economy — it is growing at 6%-7% this year — and rising wages are offsetting concerns about the nation’s 22% annual inflation to drive the growth, helped by a rise in premium-ticket 3D screenings.

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