India's INOX Leisure reports quarterly profit as hits bring back moviegoers 

A woman walks past a logo of the INOX movie theatre at a cinema hall in Mumbai
A woman walks past a logo of the INOX movie theatre at a cinema hall in Mumbai, India, March 29, 2022. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

BENGALURU/CHENNAI, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Indian multiplex operator INOX Leisure Ltd (INOL.NS) on Monday posted profit before exceptional items and tax for the third quarter, as movie buffs returned following a string of hits and splurged on pricier tickets and in-theater purchases.

The company, which is in the process of merging with market leader PVR Ltd (PVRL.NS), reported profit before exceptional items and tax of 286.2 million Indian rupees ($3.51 million) for the third quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to a net loss of 16 million rupees a year ago.

PVR also swung to a profit last quarter, underscoring a change in fortunes for India's theater operators after a slate of flop Hindi language movies earlier in the year.

A few of the more popular movies in the quarter included "Drishyam 2," a Hindi remake of the eponymous Malayalam flick, Kannada-language action thriller "Kantara," Tamil-language historical fiction "PS-1" and Hollywood's "Avatar: The Way of Water".

Revenue from operations jumped 74% to 5.16 billion rupees.

The average ticket price in the quarter increased to a record 230 rupees from 226 rupees in the comparable quarter a year earlier, while the average spend per customer was 106 rupees, up from 97 rupees and the company's highest ever.

With the INOX-PVR merger expected to be completed in the next 30-40 days, INOX in the December quarter had written off deferred tax asset of 433.7 million rupees. It also booked a 243.8 million rupees exceptional charge towards merger expenses.

Reporting by Anisha Ajith in Bengaluru and Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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