Belgian exhibitor Kinepolis Group is planning to open six new multiplexes throughout Europe by December after reaching its legal investment limit in Belgium with 125 screens.

The first to open will be the 12-screen Forum Kinepolis in Nimes, France to be followed by an eight-screen multiplex in Ede, The Netherlands in September and a 14-screen complex in Pioltello, Italy in November. The company's biggest push is scheduled for December when it will open 20 screens in Poznan, Poland, eight in Schaffhausen, Switzerland and 24 in Valencia, Spain.

Audience numbers dropped 9% last year in Belgium, but Kinepolis considers this a minor slump compared to the decline in cinema audiences worldwide of up to 25%. The company recently reported a 26% decrease in annual net profit but Kinepolis spokesman Christian Nolens attributed this to one-off costs related to new projects including the "ups and downs" of a 30% participation in CinemaxX.