Cathay Cineplexes owner sees first-half loss of $22.4 million

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Catalist-listed entertainment group mm2 Asia, which owns Cathay Cineplexes, sank into the red in the first six months, on losses in the cinema and events businesses.

mm2 posted a net loss of $22.4 million for the half-year to Sept 30, against a net profit of $9.18 million in the year-ago period, according to unaudited results out on Saturday (Nov 14).

This comes as revenue fell by 83 per cent year on year to $19.9 million, crimped by safe-management measures that limited operations in the core businesses.

Cinema contributions shrank to just $3.6 million, from $49.5 million before, as the segment clocked a pre-tax loss of $16.5 million.

Turnover from live concerts and events fell to $1.1 million, from $45.9 million, with a pre-tax loss of $3.9 million.

Loss per share was 1.93 cents, against earnings per share of 0.79 cent previously. Net asset value dipped to $0.17 a share, from $0.19 as at March 31.

No dividend was recommended for the half-year, with mm2 saying that it plans to conserve cash "for expansion and other business opportunities".

Still, the group said in its outlook statement that it expects a shift towards "favourable conditions" in the markets of mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"We believe that once the Covid-19 situation improves, we will make a strong comeback quickly," said executive chairman Melvin Ang, adding: "The worst is now behind us."

He noted that mm2 released movies in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia in July, and has launched on-demand streaming service Cathay CineHome to complement the cinema business, among other recent moves.