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Teuton slump hits Oz exhib

AHL cites ailing economy, decline in ticket sales for writedown

SYDNEY — Australia’s Amalgamated Holdings announced Wednesday a A$70.4 million ($49.2 million) writedown on its German loop Kieft & Kieft and flagged a possible exit from its 50% interest in that territory’s Ufa circuit.

AHL, which owns Oz’s Greater Union chain, ascribed the writedown to the ailing German economy and a continuing decline in ticket sales.

Admissions through the end of April were off 8% on the same period last year. B.O. receipts declined by 14%.

The company said that it expects “any recovery will be slow” and it will take considerable time to improve trading conditions and attendance rates.

AHL bought the half of Kieft & Kieft it didn’t own from its local partners last December; its Cinestar circuit comprises 364 screens.

Via Kieft & Kieft, it owns half of the 187-screen Ufa circuit (Onex has the rest). Company is reviewing its participation in that joint venture and said its exposure in the event of exit would be around $5 million.