Cinema City International has posted strong first-quarter results with big gains in revenue and ticket sales even as exchange rates pushed ticket prices down.

The company’s theatrical operations earned $53.9m (€ 40.1m) in the first quarter, up 6.1% year-on-year. Total revenues were up of 51.5%, boosted by the company’s sale of its remaining 30% interest in the Mall of Plovdiv project in Bulgaria to GE Real Estate and Quinlan Private (Ireland) for $30.9m (€23m).

The company had a net profit of $13m (€9.7 million – up 140.6%) in the first quarter of 2009 with EBITDA at $20.2m (€15.0m – up 60.6%).

Cinema City’s ticket sales across the six countries in which company operates increased 22% year-on-year. The company sold 6.9m tickets, with 4.4m sold in Poland alone. Local currencies’ weakness against the Euro contributed to 13.8% decline in average ticket price $5.24 (€3.9).

The growth in ticket sales is thanks largely to 27 new screens the exhibitor has opened in three locations in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania. At the end of the quarter, Cinema City was operating 593 screens (including 61 digital) in 64 multiplexes and had signed binding agreements for an additional 476 screens in 45 multiplexes.

In the under-served Romanian market, the company signed three new leases for multiplex space, while another six-screen project has been cancelled.

Financing for the theatre chain’s expansion in Romania and Poland comes from a $18.2m (PLN 60m) credit agreement with BZ WBK Bank of Poland. 

Cinema City CEO Moshe Greidinger said: “The first quarter was very successful for Cinema City. So far we have not experienced negative effects of the economic downturn on our business. Well-received film productions and newly opened screens translated into very good results of our theatre operations”

Greidinger expects further strong performance this year, with the company planning to open 117 screens in 10 multiplexes. Cinema City will also install 50 new digital projectors by the end of the year.

Cinema City International operates in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, Poland and Romania.