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Cineplexx Gearing up for Ljubljana Arrival

Ljubljana, 29 September (STA) - Cineplexx, the Austrian chain of film theatres, has been present in Slovenia since 2012, but it has not had a presence in the biggest market in Ljubljana. The operator is now mulling a location in the capital, with speculation rife as to whether it will purchase the struggling Kolosej multiplex.

Cineplexx is undertaking a location analysis for three possible sites in the city. But after the announcement of the sale of Kolosej, this possibility "is being examined" as well, the operator has told the STA.

The company, which currently operates theatres in around entire Slovenia (Koper, Kranj, Novo mesto, Celje, Maribor and Murska Sobota), said it was planning a modern multiplex with over 1,000 seats. It said earlier this year that its investment was valued at EUR 6m.

The debt-ridden Kolosej has been struggling for years. Earlier this year NLB, the country's biggest bank, decided to make a margin call and it seized the multiplex. In August it issued a call for bids for the entire site with the asking price of EUR 7.8m.

While Kolosej might seem an attractive proposition for Cineplexx given its location on the edge of the massive BTC shopping district, pundits have been noting that the facility has fallen into disrepair and the investor might be better served starting from scratch.

Samo Rugelj, a publisher and film critic, told the STA that any Kolosej buyer would face a "huge business challenge". He is sceptical about Cineplexx, which he said has "not had brilliant results" elsewhere in the country, though he acknowledged that it was an industry player.

The larger question for Cineplexx and other operators is the overall decline of the film-going culture. In 2013 the number of tickets sold dropped 14% year-on-year to 2.3 million, the lowest on record, after it already fell by a tenth in the previous year, according to Statistics Office data.

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