Covid-19’s third wave has pushed the rebound hopes of multiplex operators to Q1FY23, said ratings agency ICRA.
As per ICRA, November 2021 to March 2022 was expected to witness a strong rebound, given the strong content pipeline, which was also reflected in the box office performance of major movies released in Q3 FY2022. However, the restrictions imposed by various state governments on multiplex operations due to the third wave has dashed imminent recovery for the industry.
With malls and cinema halls closed temporarily in Delhi and Haryana, allowing only double vaccinated consumers in a few states such as Kerala, Karnataka and night curfews in many regions, most of the movie releases were deferred. As a result, occupancy for Q4FY22 will be impacted and revenues for the quarter will be sequentially lower than Q3FY22.
“With the current evolving situation, the recovery for the film exhibition sector will now stand further delayed to Q1 FY2023,” said Jay Sheth, Vice President and Sector Head, Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA.
“However, on the positive side, unlike in the past, several large-budget movies are now ready for release, content line-up remains robust and hence recovery, post easing of restrictions, is expected to be stronger and much faster.”
Nevertheless, ICRA continues to maintain a negative outlook on the sector until it achieves a full and sustainable recovery. “The current adequate liquidity profile of the incumbents is expected to help them navigate short-term head winds on profitability.”