Q1 Results: PVR back in black as box office picks up pace post-Covid

— India’s largest multiplex operator — reported its first profit after two years of slowdown, aided by strong box-office collections. The movie exhibitor posted a net profit of Rs 53.2 crore in the quarter ended June 2022 (Q1) against a loss of Rs 219.44 crore in the year-ago period and Rs 105.49 crore in Q4FY22, according to released on Thursday.

A poll of analysts by Bloomberg had indicated a consensus profit of Rs 62.8-crore.

Its revenue jumped 83 per cent to Rs 981.4 crore, compared to the Rs 905.3-crore estimated by Bloomberg. It climbed 13 per cent over Q1FY20, or the pre-pandemic period. Ebitda rose 3.42 times to Rs 341.6 crore in Q1, against Rs 323.3 crore projected by Bloomberg. Margin stood at 34.8 per cent for the quarter. Average ticket price and spend per head, which picked up in the past two quarters as movie halls reopened, recorded their highest levels at Rs 250 and Rs 134, respectively, during the April-June period.

Net box-office collections shot up 16 per cent to Rs 530.2 crore in Q1 over the pre-pandemic period supported by blockbuster content such as KGF:Chapter 2, RRR, Bhool Bhulaiya 2, Dr. Strange 2, and Vikram (Tamil), the company said. The contribution of regional movies increased to 38 per cent from 23 per cent during the pre-pandemic period.

Nitin Sood, chief financial officer, PVR, said the firm was on track to open 125 screens in the ongoing financial year (FY23), and it had lined up a capital investment (capex) of Rs 400-450 crore for the period.

“Fourteen screens across three properties have been opened so far. Another 82 screens are currently under fit-outs. Both the total number of screens to be opened and capex for FY23 will be higher than the pre-pandemic period of FY20, when we opened 87 screens and had an annual capex of Rs 300 crore,” Sood said.

Shares of jumped after the Q1 announcement on Thursday, and were trading nearly 3 per cent higher on the BSE in the afternoon session. It closed trade at Rs 1,911.60 a share, up 1.41 per cent over the previous day’s close. Year-to-date, the stock is up over 22 per cent on the BSE.

Sood indicated that the merger between PVR and Inox would be completed before the end of the current financial year.

“The two are in the process of filing their applications with the NCLT for approval of the merger. The no-objection certificate from NSE and BSE for the merger has already been received. The entire process will take another six months,” he said.

On March 27, PVR and Inox had announced a merger deal to create the largest multiplex chain in the country with a network of more than 1,500 screens. The combined entity would be named PVR INOX with the branding of existing screens to continue as PVR and INOX, respectively. New cinemas opened after the merger would be branded as PVR INOX, the said.

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