Multiplex chain operator PVR reported net loss for the fourth consecutive quarter as the film exhibition business remained subdued due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company reported net loss of Rs 49.21 crore during the December quarter of the current fiscal as against net profit of Rs 36.26 crore in the year ago period as COVID-19 situation across the country continued to adversely affect the operations. The loss, however, was much lesser than that of Rs 225.73 crore and Rs 184 crore in June and September quarter, respectively, as cinemas remained closed during these quarters.
The consolidated revenue from operations declined by 95 per cent to Rs 45.4 crore against Rs 915.74 crore in Q3 FY20, PVR said in an exchange filing. The revenue from operations stood at Rs 40.45 crore in September quarter.
The company's total expenses fell by 79.69 per cent to Rs 123.52 crore in Q3 FY21 as against Rs 608.46 crore in the year-ago period, thanks to cost aggressive management strategy. "Given the slow recovery in terms of footfalls, the company continued its cost aggressive management strategy along with keeping sufficient liquidity on the balance sheet. These efforts resulted in fixed cost reductions of 63 per cent as compared to Q3 FY20," the multiplex chain operator said.
PVR said it will continue to take all measures necessary to further reduce the impact at all cost levels, including fixed costs and outgoing cash flows.
The company said that results for December quarter are not comparable on the year-on-year basis as staggered re-opening and limited content availability post re-opening had significantly impacted business operations.
COVID-19 situation across the country adversely affected the operations resulting in almost no operating revenue for the first six months of the current fiscal. The government, under Unlock 5 guidelines, allowed cinemas to restart operations from October 15 onwards with 50 per cent capacity.
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"This was followed by various states soon issuing their respective notifications for cinema reopening in a staggered manner. As on date, except for the state of Rajasthan and Jharkhand, all other states, where PVR has presence, have allowed Cinemas to re-open," PVR said.
During the quarter, the company reached settlements with landlords for 88 per cent of cinemas for complete or partial waiver/discounts for COVID-19 lockdown period.
The October-December quarter witnessed films returning to the big screen and PVR cinemas registering footfalls yet again. However, on account of a staggered reopening across states and capacity restrictions, producers remained cautious with limited movies were released.
Commenting on Q3 earnings, Ajay Bijli, Chairman cum Managing Director, PVR Ltd said "After two quarters of successive lockdown, we are delighted to have welcomed back our patrons to our cinemas. Consequent to being deprived of the most affordable and engrossing form of entertainment, we believe our audiences' desire to revisit cinemas is strong and there is significant pent up demand that will help our business recover."
"The South Indian film industry had led the way in terms of release of blockbuster content and the initial performance of Tamil movie "Master" indicates that the customers are ready to revisit their favourite cinemas if the high quality content is available. We are now hopeful that the Bollywood industry will derive comfort from this strong performance and start releasing high quality content in the near future," he added.
Meanwhile, shares of PVR ended Friday's trade at Rs 1,473.40, up 2.68 per cent, as against the previous closing price of Rs 1,435 on Bombay Stock Exchange.