Pyramid Saimira plans Rs 3 billion film funding, ties up with banks

MUMBAI: Financial institutions are structuring film financing in innovative ways. Chennai-based cinema chain operator Pyramid Saimira Theatre Ltd has tied up with banks, an insurance company and a film completion bond firm to provide an annual corpus of Rs 3 billion for funding film producers.

IDBI Bank and HDFC have taken the lead and the guarantees from Infinity Film Completion Services (IFCS) will be re-insured by General Insurance Corporation (GIC). IFCS is a division of Infinity India Advisors Pvt Ltd.

Pyramid Saimira plans to produce 25 movies through this route. "Our company will act as the guarantor to the banks for funding the producers. We will own all rights of exploitation including theatrical, satellite TV and international. This will provide a content pipeline of 25 films for our theatres. As we are also in film distribution, this will complete the value chain in the movie business," says Pyramid Saimira managing director PS Saminathan.

Pyramid has entered into an MOU with IFCS which will issue the completion guarantee for films to be procured by the company in the languages of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. These guarantees are fully re-insured by GIC. This agreement is a major step towards creation of film content supply chain for us and in effect indirectly funds close to Rs 3 billion of working capital as off balance sheet funding," says Saminathan.

The company will, thus, be able to build of library of movies while feeding the supply chain to the theatres and the distribution business. "Besides, film producers will get access to cheaper and organised finance. The banks will be charging around 14 per cent interest as against the unorganised charge of 40 per cent," says Saminathan.

Pyramid Saimira recently raised Rs 844.4 million through a public float to part-finance its expansion plans. This included refurbishing theatres after taking them on long term lease and installing digital systems of delivery.

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