Cineworld aims to open 25 new cinemas by 2017

Oliver Smith
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CINEWORLD will close or sell two of its recently acquired Picturehouse cinemas in Aberdeen and Bury St Edmunds following an order by the Competition Commission (CC), but will open 25 new cinemas.

“We intend to open up to and possibly beyond 25 new cinemas... up until 2017,” finance chief Philip Bowcock told Reuters.

The first new site will open in Wembley, north west London, next week, followed by new cinemas in Gloucester, Swindon and Telford in western England, the company said.

The cinema chain also reported its revenues grew 17.7 per cent in the nine months to 17 October, in an interim management statement yesterday.

Cineworld’s 101 cinemas had a market share in the 16 week period to 17 October of 25.9 per cent, an increase of 0.9 percentage points compared to the same period last year.

The chain was told on 9 October that it must dispose of three of its cinemas following an investigation triggered by Cineworld’s purchase of the Picturehouse chain.

“The CC has concluded that the acquisition could lead to a substantial lessening of competition in the three areas where Cineworld and Picturehouse face limited competition, this could lead to higher prices,” said the CC last month.

Cineworld has not yet decided what it will do with its Cambridge cinema that the CC said must lose.