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PVR plans big South India push this year

Multiplex chain PVR’s screen expansion in 2022 has been skewed towards South India due to the rapid mall development activity in that region, its chairman Ajay Bijli said. “We are South-skewed in terms of screen expansion this year because a lot of malls have come up in the South,” he said. “We are joined at the hip with mall development, which changes every year from region to region. This year, it just so happens that the retail expansion has happened in the South.”Bijli said PVR aims to open its Director's Cut format in every major city in the country. “In the first phase, we will look at Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Gurugram, and Noida. The second phase will be smaller cities,” he said. “This year, our capital expenditure for screen expansion would be `350 crore.” The average cost per screen is `3 crore, he added.PVR will launch its first super luxury cinema format PVR Director’s Cut in South India in Bengaluru on December 9, Bijli said. With this launch, the multiplex chain will have 88 screens in 12 properties in Bengaluru and 316 screens across 51 properties in South India. PVR has set a goal to open 100 new screens every year. It has opened 44 screens so far this fiscal, and is aiming for 20 more screens in this quarter with plans to add another 35 in Q4.95947350On its merger deal with Inox, Bijli said the same will be closed this fiscal year. “We have got all the necessary approvals but there are still one or two approvals left,” he said. “Everything is on track. Hopefully, in the next couple of months, we should be done with it.”PVR chief financial officer Nitin Sood said, “We are waiting for the final approval from the NCLT because the regulatory authorities must give their consent as a part of the process. If they don't have any objections, the tribunal passes the order for the merger. Our next date of hearing is scheduled mid-December.”