Reliance, Wanda unveil partnership
By Patrick Frater
Fri, 14 December 2012, 07:59 AM (HKT)
Anil Ambani's sprawling Indian conglomerate Reliance MediaWorks Ltd and China's Dalian Wanda Group Co Ltd 大連萬達集團股份有限公司 have announced plans to join forces in the cinema exhibition business in India and the US.
Wanda is the Chinese property developer that earlier this year became the world's largest cinema operator when it swallowed up the AMC theatres chain in the US at a cost of $2.6 billion.
The two companies revealed that they have signed a memorandum of understanding intended to lead to the creation of a strategic, long-term joint venture.
"Wanda Group and [Reliance's separately stock market listed subsidiary] Reliance MediaWorks will explore possible co-operation in the multiplexes business in India and the US", the two said in a statement.
RMW operates some 254 cinema screens in India, making it currently the largest multiplex operator in the country (though it will fall to second when PVR Cinemas's takeover of Cinemax India is completed) and a further 170 screens across the US. Wanda, which moved into the film industry only seven years ago, has close to 1,000 screens in China and a further 5,890 in the US through AMC.
Wanda Cinema Circuit was yesterday named as Exhibitor of the Year at the annual CineAsia convention in Hong Kong.
First priority of the proposed JV, however, is likely to be property development. The two said that they would develop Reliance Communications' Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City complex in Navi Mumbai, which has the potential for 10 million square feet of further building.
They are also looking at a similar sized development of the new business district of Hyderabad, India.
Although the countries are neighbours with a common border, the cinema industries of India and China have almost no connection. Reliance's facilities to post-production unit RMW recently bucked that trend when it partnered with another Chinese Group, Beijing Galloping Horse Film Co Ltd 北京小馬奔騰影業有限公司, as minority partner in the takeover of US special effects company Digital Domain Media Group (DDMG).
"Wanda and Reliance are two of the largest private conglomerates in their respective countries. By joining our strengths together we hope our co-operation will bring mutual benefits and great results," said Wanda chairman WANG Jianlin 王健林.
"Over the past few years, Reliance Group has become the single largest trading partner between India and China," said Reliance ADA Group chairman Anil Ambani.
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