Multiplex strike scripts Adlabs' Q1 net loss

MUMBAI: Put to financial stress by the row with film producers, multiplex operators have posted dismal first-quarter performances. With PricewaterhouseCoopers estimating the total loss of the Indian cinema industry during the strike period - which consumed 80 per cent of the quarter - at Rs 3.5 billion, the listed multiplex companies are slipping into the red.

After Cinemax, which suffered a net loss of Rs 5.8 million for the quarter ended 30 June, the next to feel the pinch is Adlabs Films.

The Reliance ADAG company has posted a consolidated net loss of Rs 636.96 million for the quarter ended 30 June, as against a net profit of Rs 23.24 million a year ago.

The company has clarified that this quarter is not comparable with "any period" on account of the deadlock between the producers, distributors and exhibitors on several issues "due to which there were no new Hindi movie releases for 80 per cent period of the quarter."

Consolidated net revenue stood at Rs 1.05 billion, down 54.23 per cent. The company also posted negative EBITDA from operations at Rs 90 million for the quarter under review.

Adlabs curtailed its expenses by 34.78 per cent to Rs 1.48 billion, down from Rs 2.27 billion in the prior-year quarter.

Theatrical exhibition business suffered the worst blow with operating loss standing at Rs 298.88, compared to an operating profit of Rs 8.47 million in the first quarter of FY‘09. Revenue from this segment was Rs 708.73 million, down from Rs 776.86 million. The capital deployed in the segment is Rs 10.32 billion.

The film production and distribution segment took a hit in operating profit as it reduced to Rs 12.80 million, from Rs 109.16 million in the same quarter of the previous fiscal. Revenue dipped to Rs 70.81 million (from Rs 693.02 million).

In the film facilities business, operating profit declined to Rs 15.08 million, from Rs 100.46 in the prior year, due to paucity of film releases. The revenue in the segment fell marginally to Rs 288.89 million, as against Rs 299.09 million in the year-ago period. The segment employed a capital of Rs 3.33 billion.

Buoyed by a sharp recovery in July with movie screenings returning, Adlabs expects the momentum to continue for the rest of the fiscal. Says Adlabs CEO Anil Arjun, "It is very encouraging that movies released thereafter (post strike) have seen a strong box office. The line-up of movies for the remaining year is strong and we except the performance of July to be maintained through the year. Adlabs has made strategic investments and scaled up business operations. We expect to benefit from the strong momentum in the film and media industry."

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