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Russian Exhib Chain Karo Embarks on $150 Million Expansion Drive

Paul Heth: 'Russian audience expects a more all-encompassing film-going experience'

LONDON — Russian exhibition chain Karo Film has announced a $150 million expansion program.

Construction on the Karo Vegas megaplex in Moscow has already begun, with a planned opening in July. The venue, which will house 5,000 seats across 22 screens, is described by Karo as “Russia’s most technically advanced cinema complex.”

Paul Heth, Karo’s CEO, said: “The Russian cinema audience today expects a more all-encompassing film-going experience, including highly stylized visual, sound and seating technologies, comfort and personalized service, and large screens with excellent quality digital projection and sound. By launching the state-of-the-art Karo Vegas 22 megaplex we are responding to this significant demand in the market.”

Karo will open a further two theaters in Moscow this year, including Russia’s second-largest multiplex, Karo AviaPark, with 18 screens. These additional venues along with the existing Moscow locations will establish Karo as the market leader in the city.

Karo is also in negotiations to break ground on complexes in St. Petersburg and Siberia in the summer of 2015 with planned openings in early 2016.

The company’s investment program for 2014-2015 will also include $22 million on renovating existing venues and increasing the company’s IT capabilities and infrastructure.

Karo, which was founded in 1997, owns 28 theaters comprising of 189 screens in Russia. In 2012, a consortium consisting of Baring Vostok Private Equity, UFG Private Equity, Russian Direct Investment Find and Heth acquired a majority stake in the company.

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