Television

UFO to raise $25 million, taps VCs

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MUMBAI: United Film Organizers (UFO) Moviez, a subsidiary of Apollo International Ltd, is in the process of raising venture capital (VC) funding of $25 million (Rs 1.13 billion).

The company plans to spread its digital cinema network to 2,000 screens by 2007-08, for which it is going to invest Rs 3 billion. UFO has already invested close to Rs 800 million and its digital system runs across 550 theatres.

UFO has mandated Ernst & Young to arrange the VC funding. "We are in talks with a few VCs. We will be raising $25 million. We have already pumped in around Rs 800 million. The balance will come from debt and internal accruals," UFO Moviez CEO Sanjay Gaikwad tells Indianteleviievision.com.

Apollo International holds 60 per cent in the company while 25 per cent is with the founder-promoters (including Gaikwad) and initial investors. The balance 15 per cent is held by Singapore-based DG2L Technologies. "After receiving the VC funding, all of our shareholdings will get diluted proportionately. We will know the new shareholding structure only when we finalise our VC partner," says Gaikwad.

UFO installs the digital equipment at cinema theatres which cost Rs 1.7 million. Theatres using the UFO digital system do not have to pay for the equipment but are charged Rs 450 per show. The company uses Mpeg 4 digital cinema solutions.

"We plan to increase the fee to Rs 525 per show. We also expect the usage of digital systems in the theatres whiere we have installed them to go up from 60 per cent to over 90 per cent as the business matures," says Gaikwad.

UFO has competitors like Adlabs and Essel Group's E-City Digital Cinemas. "We expect our revenues to touch Rs 2 billion by 2008-09," says Gaikwad.

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