Essel Group's E-City plans to invest Rs 2.5 billion

NEW DELHI: E-City Ventures, part of the $5 billion Essel Group, which is promoted by Subhash Chandra, today announced a Rs 2.5 billion expansion of business across India.

The group had earmarked over Rs 5 billion for investment by 2008, of which Rs 2.5 billion has already been invested.

E-City Ventures will be the corporate brand used to identify the following lines of business of the Essel Group in out-of-home realty development (E-City Entertainment (I) Pvt. Limited), mall-based property management (E-City Property Management Services Pvt. Ltd.), digital cinema solutions 

(E-City Digital Cinemas Pvt. Ltd.), film distribution (E-City Films Pvt. Ltd.) and movie exhibition (Fun Multiplex Pvt. Ltd.).

"We are essentially in the cinema business, but have learnt to do the cinema business in a better way by entering related and allied industries, thereby, maximizing value and yet reducing the level of risks", E-City Entertainment (I) Pvt Ltd CEO Atul Goel told journalists here today.

According to Goel, the above-mentioned businesses of E-City Ventures mesh very well with the idea of an "integrated approach to the business of entertainment."

E-City Entertainment aims to be the best out-of-home entertainment and leisure destination provider through its Family Entertainment Centres (FECs).

The company proposes to develop and operate 20,00,000 sq. ft. of commercial realty across six FECs (under the brand - Fun Republic) by December 2007. The offerings include a wide variety of leisure, entertainment, recreation and shopping options under one roof. 

Fun Multiplex Pvt. Ltd harbours the aim to the finest entertainment experience provider, enabling superior cinema viewing and real time leisure experiences to its patrons by combining the best in technology, comfort, leisure and hospitality. The complete outlay by second quarter 2008 would have 140 screens operational in 35 locations.

E-City Films Pvt. Ltd recently distributed Alexander (December 2004), One Dollar Curry (February 2005), Million Dollar Baby (March 2005) and Sahara (July 2005).

It aims to nationally distribute around 15-20 movies a year, being a strategic link between independent studio productions and Indian theatre audiences, Goel said.

The company looks forward to banking on its existing synergies in entertainment and retail operations and offering mall management services, project development assistance, retail leasing and brokerage services and related advisory and research support. 

The Essel Group has four core business interests--- media, entertainment, industry and real estate. One of the recent projects of the group has been the launch of a daily English newspaper, DNA, for the Mumbai market.

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