JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian movie theatre chain Blitzmegaplex aims to kick off an initial public offering in the first quarter of this year to raise funds to build 15 cinemas at a cost of about $35 million as it tries to fend off rising competition.
If successful, it would be the first cinema chain to list on the Jakarta stock exchange. Blitzmegaplex, which is backed by Singapore-based private equity firm Quvat Management, is the second-biggest cinema operator in Indonesia behind 21 Cineplex.
The battle of the silver screens in Southeast Asia's biggest economy is set to intensify as Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group, controlled by the Riady family, plans to launch its first cinema this year.
Blitzmegaplex aims to boost the number of its cinemas to 25 in the next three years from 10 currently, Director Brata Perdana told reporters on Wednesday.
"We want to do this IPO for expansion, especially because the number of cinemas in Indonesia is still very lacking," Perdana said. But he said it was too early to comment on how much the company would raise from the offering.
Indo Premier Securities is the sole underwriter.
Dian Sunardi, marketing director at Blitzmegaplex, told Reuters last month that each cinema required an investment of up to 30 billion rupiah ($2.45 million).
The country of 240 million people has more than 700 cinema screens, of which 70 percent are concentrated in the Greater Jakarta region, according to the Indonesian cinema association.
The development of Indonesia's cinema industry has been hamstrung by its inclusion in the country's "negative investment list", which restricts foreign investment in several sectors.
South Korea's CJ Group hopes to invest in the Indonesian movie business if the government opens it up, the president director of the entertainment and food conglomerate's Indonesian operations told reporters last month.
"There has been a slowdown in Europe and we see the best growth potential in Indonesia," said Son Young. "If the negative investment is revised, I am sure that there will be many foreign investors who will enter this business because of the huge population in Indonesia." ($1 = 12,237.50 Indonesian rupiah)
(Writing by Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)