MADRID — Further stepping up its ambitions for Europe, Ster Century — the European trading brand of South African cinema operator Ster Kinekor — has unveiled plans to build just under 100 screens in Spain.

Total investment will come in at $40 million-50 million, with six sites planned over the next three years.

Off the beaten path

Ster Kinekor’s strategy for Europe has been to target lesser-developed countries and smaller towns. Its first two Spanish sites — both 12-plexes — will be in the Madrid dormitory town of Alcobendas and a provincial capital, Alicante. Additional sites will include at least one 20-screen megaplex.

“Having evaluated markets in Europe some time ago, we saw Spain as having considerable potential and are very excited about our prospects there,” said Ster Century managing director Mike Ross.

A joint venture of Ker Saf (70%) and Pri Media (30%), the majority shareholder in Ster Kinekor, Ster Century announced plans in late 1998 to build 550 screens in Europe.

Expanded plans

It now aims for a bigger rollout over the next three years of 607 screens at 44 multiplexes in ten European territories.

Ster Century’s first multiplex opened in October 1998 in Thessaloniki, Greece. Six additional plexes are due to bow in 1999 in Ireland, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.