Country Focus: Finland
Sweden's SF Bio and Finland's Finnkino merger to create number-one cinema chain in Scandinavia
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Swedish private equity company Ratos, which already controls Finland’s leading cinema chain Finnkino, has acquired 60% of the shares in SF Bio, Sweden’s No 1 exhibitor, from the Bonnier media concern, which keeps its 40% stake.
The merger of the two companies (which also covers Norway’s SF Kino) will create the largest theatrical operator in the Nordic countries and the sixth largest in Europe, with 67 cinemas/440 screens in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, taking an annual 30 million admissions. The Swedish division includes 282 auditoria at 43 venues.
According to Sweden’s DN, managing director Jan Bernhardsson, of SF Bio, will become chief executive of the new enterprise which will hold on to the names of SF Bio and Finnkino. The take-over will need the approval of the competition authorities in the countries involved, and will most likely be completed by the end of April.
“If SF Bio will maintain its current strong position, it will require substantial investments in technology – that is the reason why we, with Ratos, have decided to generate an even stronger company,” said managing director Jonas Bonnier (photo), of the Bonnier media concern, when he announced the sale.
According to DN, Sweden’s theatres are owned by SF Bio (30%), Folkets Hus & Parker (20%), Svenska Bio (14%), Våra Gårdar (7%), Eurostar (3%), Bygdegårdarna (3%), Others (18%). The market share is controlled by SF Bio (67%), with Svenska Bio second (16%). – Before a sister company of Swedish major, Svensk Filmindustri, SF Bio is valued at $0.47 billion (SEK 3 billion).