Last curtain fell for Swedish cinema circuit, Astoria Cinemas - once the country's second-largest theatre chain - as part-owner and managing director (since June 8) Jonny Jergander filed for bankruptcy less than two months after distributor-exhibitor Triangelfilm, the main force behind the set-up, also went bust.

'We are all losers. With only one majer player in the theatrical market, Sweden's has become a poorer cinema country,' said managing director Cissi Elwin, of the Swedish Film Institute.

The theatres involved in the bankruptcy are the left-overs of the former screen empire: Stockholm's Astorias at Kungsgatan and Nybrogatan, the Victoria, the Grand, multiplexes in Sickla and Malmo, as well as the Royal and half-a-plex at Goteborg.

Two months ago (May 11) then-CEO Mattias Nohrborg declared that 'the future of Astoria has been secured', after market leader, SF Bio, had bought Astorias' flagships, the Cinema Palaces in Stockholm and Goteborg. As part of the deal, Astoria would run five of the screens in Goteborg and programme another four SF theatres.

But the days were numbered for the former 22-cinema/88-screen Sandrew Metronome chain, which had been sold to SF Bio in 2005, if the Swedish competition authorites had not banned what would become a close-to-monopoly situation for the Bonnier-owned company.

Instead Nohrborg orchestrated a purchase by his Triangelfilm with another two film enterprises, S/S Fladen and Atlantic Film. In financial difficulties since the launch, Astoria was first given breathing space by SF Bio, which took over all Astoria theatres outside the key cities of Stockholm, Goteborg and Malmo.

Filing for reconstruction last autumn, with $12m (Euros 9m) debts, the company then survived as the creditors agreed to write off 75% of what they were owed. But it did not last. SF Bio president Jan Bernhardsson would not comment whether SF Bio was interested in taking over the remains.