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Lifestyle the key as giant Esplanade complex opens its doors

BackDec 14, 2006

Major Cineplex Group chairman Vicha Poolvaraluck stands amid a bevy of young beauties in one of the company's new Esplanade Cineplex theatres, which will open today.

The Bt1.5-billion Esplanade complex will open today as a total-lifestyle entertainment venue on Bangkok's Ratchadaphisek Road.

Somkit Tantadvanichkul, chief executive officer of developer Siam Future Property, said the new complex would take another four to five years to break even.

With retail space of more than 100,000 square metres, the seven-floor complex includes 12 Esplanade Cineplex theatres with 3,000 seats in an area of 12,000 square metres, a 22-lane Blu-O Rhythm & Bowl bowling alley covering 2,500 square metres, a Sub Zero ice-skating arena over 2,000 square metres, a Tops Supermarket of 2,000 square metres and a 1,200-square-metre B2S book store. The 1,500-seat Ratchadalai Musical Theatre will be opened at the complex in March, while Samsung will launch its first flagship store for consumer electronic products at the venue.

"We will receive one-time leasing payments from those tenants who have 25-year contracts with our Esplanade complex. We will earn between Bt250 million and Bt300 million annually from those tenants who have short-term contracts of no more than three years," said Somkit.

He said 70 per cent of 120 tenants would open their outlets within two weeks of today's opening of the complex. Almost 90 per cent of all stores will be fully operational by February.

Siam Future Property, which is a strategic arm of Major Cineplex Group in developing new entertainment complexes, will next year invest another Bt1.2 billion in four major schemes - at Pattaya, Ram Indra KM 8, Ladprao and the expansion phase of its existing complex on Ratchayothin.

The move is part of the company's strategy to open lifestyle venues with retail space of 50,000 square metres each year over the next five years. It will focus on prime locations in Bangkok and provincial cities.

Major Cineplex Group chairman Vicha Poolvaraluck said the company expected its Esplanade Cineplex to sell between 1.8 million and two million tickets per annum. Including its other entertainment magnets, such as bowling and ice-skating, as well as media revenues, the new complex is expected to generate total revenues of between Bt350 million and Bt400 million annually.

Vicha expects sales revenues to grow 17 per cent to more than Bt5 billion this year. About 65 per cent will come from cinema, 12 per cent from retailing and 10 per cent each from bowling and film distribution.

The company expects higher growth of between 15 per cent and 20 per cent in its cinema business next year, thanks to a good line-up of Thai films and Hollywood blockbusters.

Source: The Nation by Kwanchai Rungfapaisarn. 14 December 2006

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