The Yelmo Group has bought out its partner Loews Cineplex's 50% stake in Spanish exhibition chain, Yelmo Cineplex.

The joint venture between the two was signed in 1998 to ramp up Yelmo Films' theatre interests. It has since grown from 108 screens to the current 329, making it Spain's third largest chain.

Neither Yelmo nor Loews Cineplex, now part of AMC Entertainment, would comment on the motivation or timing for the "amicable" move, which follows the recent exit from the Spanish exhibition market of other multinationals.

Earlier this year, AMC sold off its multiplexes in Spain and Portugal to UKprivate equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners, which had previouslyacquired both the Cinesa chain and Warner's and Lusomundo's stakes in Warner Lusomundo Sogecable theatres.

Yelmo was founded in 1981 by current president and CEO Ricardo Evole.