Largest Finnish theatre chain sold to Swedish equity group
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
Finnish media concern Sanoma WSOY’s sale of Finnkino – the country’s largest theatre circuit – and its Baltic subsidiary, Forum Cinemas, to Swedish private conglomerate, Ratos, has now been approved by the Finnish and Baltic competition authorities. The deal values the enterprise at €94.3m, with Ratos to provide €50m equity financing.
With a 620-person staff in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the Finnkino group controls 25 cinemas with 161 screens and approximately 30,000 seats in the region. Last year it sold more than 9.9 million tickets totalling €88.6m, to reach operating profits of €8.4m.
In Finland – the only Scandinavian country where admissions were up in 2010 (8% on 2009) – the Vanda-based Finnkino runs 14 theatres with 87 screens, or 75% of the seating capacity. Its distribution arm (handling Universal, Paramount) accounted for 15% of cinema admissions.
”Since the late 1990s Finkino has developed the theatrical market in Finland and the Baltics, building modern and attractive cinemas. Compared to the other Nordic countries per capita attendance is still lower, but continuing investments in new theatres and new technology will undoubtedly increase the number of audiences and the earnings per visitor,” said Ratos CEO Arne Karlsson.
Currently valued at SEK 38 billion (€4.3bn) at the Stockholm OMX Stock Exchange, Ratos is a private equity market company set up by the Söderberg Brothers in 1933, with holdings in industry, consumer goods, service providers, media and telecom. Pre-tax profits for the last quarter of 2010 reached SEK 821 million (€91.9m).
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