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Australians to Take Over Largest German Movie Theater Company

Australia's Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL) is likely to take over Germany's largest movie theater company, Kieft & Kieft. AHL already holds 50 percent of the Lübeck-based company, which operates 94 "CineStar" and "UFA" movie theaters with 611 screens and 145,000 seats. "We realize that the economic climate in Germany remains weak," an AHL executive told DPA news agency. But by taking over the rest of the company, AHL would be protecting its existing investments, the executive added. A Kieft & Kieft spokesperson said that negotiations on the takeover won't start until next week. But a stock exchange notice filed by AHL in Sydney reveals that the Australians plan to buy the rest of the company by abating the current owners €7.65 million ($9.11 million) in debt. Similar to the situation in the U.S., Germany's movie theater industry has been struggling because of an excess capacity in theaters.