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E-City to invest Rs 3 billion, lines up Rs 1.5 billion debt

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MUMBAI: E-City Entertainment (India), promoted by Subhash Chandra's Essel Group, has lined up a debt of Rs 1.5 billion as it has earmarked an investment of Rs 3 billion for a chain of 13 multiplexes across the country.

The debt from HDFC is close to Rs 900 million while Rs 600 is from other financial institutions. "The balance investment is being made through equity," says E-City Entertainment chief executive officer Atul Goel.

The 10 new multiplexes under the Fun Republic brand will be up by 2005-end, he adds. Five multiplexes are being planned in Delhi while one each will be in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Lucknow, Agra and Mumbai.

Each multiplex will have a capacity of 1,000-1,500 seats. "We will have a total of 45 screens," says Goel. Fun Republic is already operational in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Chandigarh.

E-City Entertainment is integrating its film exhibition with distribution business. The company has acquired Mask II and Alexander for $250,000 each, says Goel "We have invested $700,000 in acquiring 9 movies. The plan is to roll out 10-12 international movies a year for distribution in India."

The company, which will start distribution of international movies, eventually plans to move to distribution of Hindi movies as well. "Once we have more control over the multiplexes and are comfortable, we will slowly graduate to the distribution of Hindi movies as well. We have to go beyond the international films, if we have to make it big," says Goel.

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