PPB ready to open its cinemas business


PPB Group Bhd is ready to open its film exhibition and distribution business under its wholly-owned subsidiary, Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd (GSC), once the country moves to Phase 4. 

Malaysia’s largest cinema operator is engaging with the Ministry of Health and National Security Council to allow its operation to resume by October 2021. 

“Currently, we are only allowed to open when the country moves to Phase 4 and we hope that we can operate by October or late November, as 98% of our employees are fully vaccinated and ready to begin operations with stringent standard operating procedures,” PPB head of corporate affairs and GSC CEO Koh Mei Lee (picture) said at virtual press and analyst briefing yesterday. 

Koh stated GSC will be rebranding its business and undertake minimal changes to MBO cinemas acquired while keeping its major renovation for all of its 17 locations once the industry recovers.

In March 2021, GSC acquired the majority of cinema assets from the MBO chain.

GSC has expanded its online business to cushion its film exhibition and distribution revenue. 

“During this period, we have gone online for our products such as food and beverages (F&B) and GSC’s merchandise to contribute to our business revenue,” added Koh. 

PPB’s net profit rose 13% to RM585 million in the first half of 2021 (1H21) against RM520 million in 1H20 on higher revenue from its grains and agribusiness segment. 

Revenue improved 9% to RM2.2 billion from RM2 billion in 1H20 while earnings per share increased to 41.17 sen from 36.55 sen last year. 

However, the group’s core segments recorded a weaker performance. 

“This was mitigated by the increase in profit contribution from our Singapore-listed associate, Wilmar International Ltd by 18.6%. Wilmar’s profit contribution was up 33% to RM594 million compared to 1H20,” the group stated. 

PPB declared an interim dividend of 10 sen per share for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2021, which is payable on Sept 28. 

PPB MD Lim Soon Huat said the performance of the grains and agribusiness segment has been adversely impacted by the spike in commodity prices, particularly in the second quarter of this year. 

“Management will continue to navigate the challenging situation in dealing with a highly volatile commodity market. Riding on the group’s experience in both the commercial and technical aspects, the grains and agribusiness segment aims to deliver an improved set of results for the following quarters,” Lim said. 

Its consumer products segment is expected to perform satisfactorily as it continues to expand its marketplace through the food services channel and e-commerce platform. 

Lim added the property segment continues to be impacted by the ongoing Movement Control Order. 

“Management remains steadfast in working on various initiatives to improve footfall in our malls and completing the development of our Megah Rise project,” he said. 

Notably, the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to weigh down on the group’s film exhibition and distribution and the property segments. 

On the bright side, edible oil giant Wilmar’s performance will continue to contribute substantially to the overall profitability of PPB group, Lim said.