Cineworld buys Spanish movie chain as it hits acquisition trail

CINEMA operator Cineworld has unveiled its first overseas expansion after agreeing to buy Spain’s fifth-biggest movie chain.

Cineworld, which has 78 sites in the UK, is to buy Cinesur Circuito Sanchez-Ramade for an undisclosed sum.

Cineworld believes Cinesur, which has 136 screens in its 11 multiplex sites, has the potential to expand. Chief executive Stephen Wiener said the Spanish watch nearly as many films per head as in the UK and the market, which is already worth €800m (£699.9m) a year, has good growth prospects.

Cineworld was founded by Wiener in 1995 and was floated on the stock market in 2006, making it the only publicly listed cinema company. It said it sold more tickets last year than any other chain.

Cineworld saw the number of movie-goers dip to 47.2m in 2010, from 48.2m the previous year, although this figure was deflated by December’s Arctic weather conditions.

The company recently reported a 0.3 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £30.4m in the year to 30 December, as revenues lifted 4.8 per cent to £342.8m.