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IMAX China Shares Higher on Trading Debut

Shares of IMAX China, the regional spin-off from IMAX Corp., began trading Thursday morning in Hong Kong.

By the market’s lunchtime trading halt the shares traded at HK33.2 apiece, a 7% gain on the HK$31 price at which they had been offered to investors. In the afternoon session, the shares rose further, reaching HK$34.6, at the 4 pm close of trading.

IMAX also revealed that it had signed a deal with China’s Omnijoi Cinema Development for a further 15 revenue sharing screens. This deal brings Omnijoi Cinemas’ total IMAX commitment to 31 theaters and makes the exhibitor the third-largest IMAX exhibitor partner in China and fifth-largest globally.

The IMAX China listing is the first IPO of a globally known brand in Hong Kong since the recent stock market turbulence in China, and the offer price was last week set at the low to middle end of the previously indicated range.

According to a filing Wednesday, the retail portion of the offer open to the public was only 77% subscribed. However, the company reported that the institutional portion of the offer was oversubscribed.

The filing revealed that the company raised a final US$58.2 million (HK$451 million), 60% of which will go towards new theater systems and equipment. Another 15% will go towards the cost of its digital conversion facility. A further 15% will go into a fund for investments, including film content investments.

“We believe [the share listing] provides investors the ability to access our IMAX China business directly, and provides greater clarity into the performance of those assets in the fastest-growing entertainment market in the world. Going public has been part of our long-term China strategy, and we believe the introduction of local Chinese investors into the business will further solidify our position in the Chinese market,” IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond.

 

Omnijoi, previously known as Jiangsu Eudemonia Blue Ocean Cinema Development, already has over 15 locations of five star Cineplex as of May 31, 2015. The company will invest billions to build 150 Cineplexes with 1,200 screens and become a leading exhibitor in China.

“This partnership is a direct result of the success of our existing IMAX theatres that have delighted our guests with the best Chinese and Hollywood films in the world’s most immersive cinematic format,” said Yang Shu, VP of parent company, Omnijoi Media Group.

In the IMAX China prospectus, IMAX revealed that it is currently trying to swing its China business further in favour of a revenue share. That means it incurs more cost up front, but a bigger split of theatrical grosses over a longer period of time.

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