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Oz’s Cinema Plus puts faith in Rochester

Exec ankles Cinimagic

SYDNEY — After recording a 97% drop in profitability this year — down from A$6.1 million ($4 million) to A$172,000 ($112,832) — giant-screen movie group Cinema Plus is pinning its hopes for a reversal of fortunes on the appointment of Oz entertainment industry veteran John Rochester as managing director.

A former senior exec with movie majors such as Reading Entertainment Australia, Hoyts, Greater Union and Television and Media Services, Rochester is ankling as exec chairman of Internet waging-and-gaming group Cinimagic to take up the Cinema Plus position left vacant by the departure of Brian Hall.

News of the appointment comes one month after a Cinema Plus management sweep that saw the arrival of a new chairman and two non-exec directors, as well as the elimination of several senior executive positions. Former managing director Hall held the position himself for only five months.

Cinema Plus currently owns six giant-screen Imax-branded theaters, including Brisbane and Bangkok cinemas opened last January and November, respectively, with just one new complex in development for Perth.

Reporting on the group’s extraordinary loss for the year included abnormal writedowns of $726,000 associated largely with the opening of the Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane complexes, and $787,000 arising from a review of the company’s accounts and procedures. Sales revenue, however, was up 47% to $17.19 million.