Rautakirja subsidiary, Finnkino, has signed a preliminary agreement covering the purchase of 90% of the Lithuanian cinema operator, UAB Vingio kino teatras, which owns a modern 4-screen cinema, seating more than 1,000 people, in Vilnius.

Cinema attendances in Lithuania last year totalled roughly 1.9 million, with Riga accounting for around 50% of this figure. The Vingis Cinema expects to achieve approximately 60% of the Vilnius market during 2001, with estimated annual net sales in the region of FIM 10 million. The company employs around 30 people.

"This is an important further step for Finnkino’s strategic aims of becoming the leading cinema chain in the Baltic region," commented Finnkino CEO, Timo Mänty.

Timo Mänty added that the plan was to further expand the activities of the new subsidiary in Vilnius, and that Finnkino was also looking at potential expansion opportunities elsewhere in Lithuania.

Growing in the Baltics

Finnkino already has cinema screening and film distribution subsidiaries in Estonia and Latvia. In Tallinn, the company opened a new 11-screen multiplex in March this year, and work is now going ahead on plans for a combined multiplex cinema and department store in Riga with the Finnish department store chain, Stockmann.

Although Rautakirja has expanded vigorously in the Baltic in recent years, this acquisition is the company's first landfall on the Lithuanian market. The Baltic States accounted for FIM 138 million of Rautakirja's total net sales of FIM 3,833 million recorded in 2000. Something over 14% of Rautakirja's personnel were employed in Estonia and Latvia as of the beginning of this year.