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INOX Leisure to foray into film distribution — Plans Rs 100-cr expansion

Ambar Singh Roy

Kolkata , Sept. 15

INOX Leisure Ltd, the entertainment arm of the Rs 750-crore turnover Inox Group, plans to expand with a fresh investment of Rs 100 crore by 2006-07.

Of the proposed investment corpus, Rs 25 crore would be invested in the current financial year, said Mr Manoj Bhatia, Chief Executive Officer of Inox Leisure Ltd. The multiplex major will also foray into film distribution.

Speaking to Business Line, Mr Bhatia said a cumulative investment of Rs 165 crore had already been made in the company, which was formed four years ago.

Inox Leisure Ltd currently has seven multiplexes with a total of 30 screens across six cities.

These include Mumbai, Goa, Pune, Baroda, Kolkata and Bangalore. In the months ahead, a multiplex with six screens will be set up in Chennai at an estimated investment of around Rs 12 crore (minus the investment towards real estate.)

After Chennai, the Inox multiplex chain will be extended to "Jaipur and, possibly, Indore within the current financial year," Mr Bhatia said.

In 2006-07, Inox multiplexes will be set up in Hyderabad, Vizag, Lucknow and other cities in North India.

The company's expansion will be funded by internal accruals and debt. Plans for an initial public offering in the near future have been ruled out.

Inox Leisure hopes to strengthen its presence in film distribution. It has already acquired the distribution rights for Hindi films such as Garam Masala, Rang De Basanti, Family, Jaaneman, Apharan and Kyonki for West Bengal, Mysore and Rajasthan.

Inox Leisure has made an initial investment of Rs 5 crore in its distribution business, and offices will be set up in Kolkata, Jaipur and Bangalore.

In the long term, the company also proposes to acquire distribution rights of English and award-winning foreign language movies from the international market.

Mr Bhatia said Inox Leisure is hopeful of achieving a turnover of Rs 100 crore in 2005-06. Last fiscal, the company had recorded a turnover of Rs 65 crore.

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