German exhibition group CinemaxX, which embarked on a sell-off programme to ease its financial concerns, has done a policy U-turn and will now hold on to its Danish theatrical complexes.

Indeed, the Danish circuit, now CinemaxX's only operation outside Germany, will now be expanded.

When it opened last year, CinemaxX's 3,200 seat Fisketorvet multiplex was the first to be build in Copenhagen since 1988. At the time it was originally commissioned it was seen as the biggest in the region and the bridgehead to the rest of Scandinavia. But Fisketorvet and CinemaxX's other site in Odense, were put up for sale this summer.

CinemaxX's competitors Nordisk Film Biografer, Sandrew Metronome and Swedish major SF Bio were all potential buyers of the Danish sites, but are understood to have been put off by the sites' expensive leases.

However, after selling its activities in Turkey and Switzerland and cancelling big building projects in Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic, CinemaxX has now chosen to maintain its position on the Danish market.

This means that the building of a new site in the country's second city, Aarhus, is to continue as planned in the Bruuns Galleri shopping mall. It will open in autumn 2003 and, with some 2000-2200 seats, be the largest site in the town. "We analysed our possibilities in Denmark and believe they are good enough to continue," said Kim Brochdorf, Danish head of CinemaxX.

While CinemaxX has strengthed it own financial situation, the Danish sites have succeeded in reversing their own downward spiral. After closing its second site in Odense (the Centrum), CinemaxX other 1,000-seat site in Rosengaarden has enjoyed a boost, achieving a 25-30% market share. Fisketorvet has taken 25% of the market in Copenhagen, reaching its aim of one million admissions in one year. "We should break-even by 2002. Our new site in Aarhus has been an important factor in the decision to keep CinemaxX in Denmark," says Kim Brochdorf

Egmont-owned, Nordisk Film Cinemas recently announced its own plans for a new complex in Denmark's third largest city, Aalborg. It will open in September 2003, by which time Nordisk Film Cinemas estimates that the market will have grown 10%-15%.