Leading Austrian cinema circuit Cineplexx, a subsidiary of Constantin Film, has acquired one of Slovenia's leading exhibitors with five cinemas and 32 screens. The acquisition of Planet Tus is designed to bolster the company's position in the developing South and Central Eastern European cinema markets. Acquisition also marks the first move for Cineplexx in Slovenia but follows a pattern of geographic expansion since 2010 into neighbouring territories of Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. As a result of current investment, Cineplexx is also scheduled to open new cinemas in Skopje, Macedonia in late 2012, plus a second multiplex in Belgrade, Serbia for 2013.
Cineplexx is already emerging as a strong pan-European player, by virtue of number of territories it is operational in (seven). Cineplexx's growth strategy has incorporated dual forces of organic growth as well as pockets of smaller acquisitions into neighbouring markets. The company originally earmaked investment of $20m in new construction in target markets and new screens springing up are a direct result of this.
Cineplexx kickstarted its pan-European growth strategy back in 2010 by opening a new cinema in Osijek, Croatia in a new shopping mall in partnership with mall developer Global Trade Center. In 2011, it established a joint venture with Continental Film in Croatia for the day-to-day operation of two multiplex cinemas in the territory, and with Megacom Film in Serbia in order to acquire and build new cinemas. These acquisitions include two multiplexes in Serbia from Greek firm Audiovisual Group and also Ster Cinemas in Belgrade, Serbia. In addition to the latest takeover in Slovenia, Cineplexx's total footprint includes over 32 cinemas in Austria, one in Northern Italy, four multiplexes in Croatia, two in Serbia, and one each in Montenegro and Macedonia, as one of only a few companies to have operations in multiple European markets.
Cineplexx's target markets in South Eastern Europe are typically smaller box office markets (under $20m) which are in the process of undergoing new screen construction often in conjunction with new shopping malls expanding into developing urban areas. In Croatia, as well as Serbia, the trend is towards increasing average admissions per head as new screens spring up. In Slovenia, Cineplexx will assume the market leading position, but the market here is more established, having already achieved an average of over one visit per head of the population, the second highest cinemagoing frequency in the C E Europe region, but still below the typical level in W Europe. In Austria, the average cinema frequency is typically two annual visits per capita.