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Village sells H.K. stake to buoy exhib arm

50% share bought by current partner Golden

SYDNEY — Village Roadshow is quitting Hong Kong after selling its 50% share in its 26-screen circuit there to its partner Golden Harvest Entertainment for $A13 million ($7.8 million).

The Australian company attributed the decision to rampant piracy in the territory and said the withdrawal is another initiative in its effort to improve the performance of its sagging exhibition division.

Village unloaded its 34.7% stake in publicly traded GHE in April and in June closed its international cinema head office in London and merged its U.K. operations with its local partner, Warner Bros.

“Our focus in exhibition has shifted from aggressively growing the business to enhancing the return on funds employed. The sale of our Hong Kong circuit is a further step along this path, allowing the group to concentrate on a smaller number of territories,” VR managing director Graham Burke said.

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