India’s PVR Inox swings to profit on ‘Barbenheimer’ frenzy, Bollywood hits

By Rama Venkat

BENGALURU (Reuters) – PVR Inox, India’s largest multiplex operator, swung to a quarterly profit on Thursday as the smashing success of Hollywood titles “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”, and hit Bollywood films lured more customers.

The theatre chain, reporting results for the third time since the merger of PVR and Inox, reported a profit of 1.66 billion rupees ($19.95 million) for the July-September quarter, compared with losses in each of the previous two quarters.

The company had said in August that the strong box office performances of Hindi films such as “Gadar 2” and “Rocky aur Rani ki Prem Kahani,” coupled with “Jailer” in Tamil and “Barbenheimer,” had led to record footfall.

That helped PVR Inox, which opened 37 new screens in the quarter, boost theatre occupancy to 32.3% this quarter from 22.3% in the previous quarter.

Moreover, not only did its average ticket price rise 12.2% sequentially to 276 rupees, customers spent 136 rupees per head on food and beverage in the quarter, more than the 130 rupees in the previous quarter.

That helped the company’s consolidated revenue surge 53.3% sequentially to 20 billion rupees.

That more than offset PVR Inox spending 66% more on movie exhibitions and 44% more on food and beverage in anticipation of the higher footfall. Its total expenses jumped 25.3%.

PVR Inox’s shares, which had surged 25% in the September quarter after declining in the previous two quarters, ended the session 1.6% lower.

“Enthusiasm around the movies and PVR Inox’s results were in line with expectations and hence, we do not see much of a reaction on the stock,” said Vivekanand Subbaraman, research analyst at brokerage Ambit Capital.

PVR Inox also said it reduced its net debt by 3.28 billion rupees in the last six months, setting it on track to be free cash flow positive by the end of the fiscal year. ($1 = 83.2100 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Rama Venkat and Hritam Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)