SYDNEY– Greater Union, Australia’s largest exhib, has frozen its cinema building plans in Europe beyond the sites to which it’s already committed.
Alan Rydge, chairman of Amalgamated Holdings, GU’s parent, signaled the switch in strategy Tuesday as the company reported that earnings from international operations in the six months to last December “continue to be under pressure.”
GU has been building cinemas in Germany, Poland and the United Arab Emirates, in league with local partners, and is due to open its first site in the Netherlands in July.
“Further expansion plans for the international market have been restricted to existing committed sites,” Rydge said. “The focus in the future will be to improve earnings from the presently open and committed sites.”
Rydge also indicated a slowdown in cinema building in Australia, noting, “The rapid growth of recent years has started to diminish, and management’s focus is to optimize returns from existing operations.”
Amalgamated reported GU’s earnings in the half year were behind the prior year, despite a 7.2% increase in its Australian B.O. revenues.