Ster-Kinekor Theatres, South Africa's largest cinema exhibitor, will open an 800 seat, 5-cinema complex in Zambia on Dec 12 - part of drive to expand its presence throughout Africa.

Located at the recently opened Arcades Entertainment and Leisure complex in Lusaka, it is the first world-class multiplex in the country. All five screens will have comfort seating, Dolby Digital surround sound and world-class luxury finishes - a first for many Zambians.

Ster-Kinekor already has multiplexes in Windhoek, Namibia and Harare, Zimbabwe, and is regarding this latest venture as a chance to open up new African markets after paring down their European Ster-Century operations by disposing of 135 of its 228 screens.

In the past year, the company has also closed down 20% of its cinemas in South Africa, and now has 47 cinemas countrywide and 5 drive ins totalling 348 screens and over 50,000 seats.

"Ster-Kinekor is actively pursuing opportunities throughout Africa." says Ster-Kinekor CEO Ferdi Gazendam, "We want to entertain people all over the continent and we're very excited about giving new audiences the chance to enjoy the choice and high technical standards available in our theatres."

The Zambian multiplex will have a lavish opening on the Dec 11 before opening to the public the next day with Finding Nemo, SWAT, The Matrix: Revolutions, The Italian Job and Looney Tunes - Back in Action.

Gazendam said the company was delighted to be the central attraction of an entertainment venture such as the Arcades, "People often travel some distance to come to the movies in African cities and together with the other tenants we offer a complete evening's outing with a chance to eat and shop as well as to experience excellent cinema entertainment."