Archive | Entertainment

Eventscape backer Hawkins secures seating business in pre-liquidation deal

Published 27 November 2008

Temporary seating specialist Eventscape Ltd (Jason Paama & Mike Wyatt) has gone into liquidation with debts of about $6 million, but only after its biggest creditor, Allan Hawkins’ Cynotech group, bought the business.


The pre-liquidation sale was done with the blessing of liquidator Bernie Montgomerie to secure value in Eventscape’s biggest asset, the 7-year seating contract for the Hamilton 400 V8 Supercars street race.


Eventscape and Eventscape No 2 Ltd went into liquidation on 19 November after former Equiticorp boss Mr Hawkins’ private company, Cynotech Securities Ltd, and the NZAX-listed company he heads, Cynotech Holdings Ltd, went into a 70:30 split to take over the business through Seating Systems Ltd.


Eventscape provided about 23,000 temporary seats for the inaugural Hamilton V8 race in April. More importantly, the contract runs for the next 6 years but would have been cancelled if the company had gone into liquidation while still holding it.


Mr Montgomerie said today it would also have been pointless appointing an administrator or receiver for Eventscape because it needed more capital.


Liquidation would have jeopardised the provision of seating for its next big event as well, the LA Galaxy football match against the Oceania All Stars at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday 6 December.


Mr Hawkins said Cynotech became involved last December, when Eventscape needed funds to import 11,000 more seats for the Supercars event. After the Hamilton 400 event, Cynotech doubled its exposure by taking over the $750,000 of funding provided by the National Bank.


“I’ve been funding them for operations since then. They ran out of steam when their ability to service any more debt was limited and there were other significant creditors. They didn’t have funds for the manufacturers who supplied them from Shanghai & Singapore. Now we have the business and the V8 seating contract.”


Mr Hawkins said he was happy to step in because it was a good business. He hoped to retain Eventscape’s 2 principals, Jason Paama & Mike Wyatt, in the new seating business which Cynotech had formed.


Hamilton 400 event director Steve Vuleta said loss of the company would have been financially disastrous for future races because the main supply alternative was much more expensive.

Cynotech took over Rocom Wireless Ltd in 2004 and sold out of all information & domestic telecommunications-related interests to focus on satellite communication and satellite phone sales & rentals, finance lending and merchant banking fee-based activities.

Cynotech bought the National Finance 2000 Ltd loan book from its receivers for $7.7 million in 2006 after the collapse of Allan Ludlow’s Payless car sales & car finance businesses, added Western Bay Finance Ltd’s remaining loan receivables to its assets and receivables totalling $5.7 million from a part of the Capital + Merchant Finance Ltd group in April this year.

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Attribution: Montgomerie & Hawkins interview, Vuleta phone interview, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Council & theatre company can Mid-City as venue

Published 15 July 2008

The Auckland Theatre Company & Auckland City Council said yesterday they’d decided not to pursue the proposal to develop the Mid-City cinema complex after investigations into transforming the venue into a multi-use theatre centre highlighted a number of risks.


Theatre company chairman Kit Toogood QC said both the company & the council felt the concept was worthy of serious consideration, but it became clear such development wasn’t a viable option.


“This is a case of sensible decisionmaking. While the proposal was an exciting possibility, the more we have looked at it, the more apparent it’s become that the Mid-City site is too restricted and is not going to deliver 3 spaces. We felt this was too much of a compromise for the industry.


“Auckland Theatre Company remains committed to working with the council to develop a home for Auckland’s theatre & dance companies. A great deal of useful research has been done over the past couple of months and we are already considering other possible sites for a dynamic world-class performance facility that is highly attractive to Auckland audiences & visitors alike.”


Council arts, culture & recreation committee chairman Greg Moyle said a number of positive outcomes had resulted from the Mid-City work: “We have had great co-operation & input from the sector, as well as agreement on their needs & priorities. We have also put time into developing the specifications for the spaces that are priorities, which will be extremely helpful going forward.”


Cllr Moyle said it was widely acknowledged that Auckland was constrained in the provision of professional arts venues: “We know that doing nothing is not an answer. The council is looking to keep the momentum generated by the Mid-City proposal going. We are committed to, over time, meeting the needs of the performing arts community through the provision of space to accommodate the needs of the Q Theatre, the Auckland Theatre Company & the Edge. The focus will now shift to alternative sites and we will continue with the current venue study to help us determine what the next step is.”


The venue study includes developing a strategic action plan that will guide & prioritise future investment in performing arts venues. Councillors asked for this study in February to update venue needs before they make a final decision on the Q theatre proposal. The findings of the venue study are expected to be ready by August.


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Attribution: Council & theatre company release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Reading bumps up profit, buys development site in Auckland

Published 1 April 2007

Los Angeles-based cinema company Reading International Inc increased revenue from continuing operations by 8.2%, net income by 290% & ebitda by 32.2% in 2006.

Reading has cinema & land interests in New Zealand as well as the US & Canada.

Revenue from continuing operations increased to $US106.1 million, net income to $US3.9 million, ebitda to $US25.9 million.

Reading formed Landplan Property Partners Ltd in Australia, and Landplan Property Partners NZ Ltd in November (originally with Reading in the name, but that was dropped in February) “to identify, acquire & develop or redevelop properties in Australia & New Zealand on an opportunistic basis”.

By 14 March these new companies had acquired 2 such properties, one in Australia & one in New Zealand, for a total investment of $US6.7 million. The 4000m² Auckland property, bought in February, cost $NZ7.1 million.

To consolidate & rationalise its holdings, Reading sold its 50% joint-venture interests in 3 mainstream Berkeley cinemas in Auckland (aggregating 13 screens) to its partner, Everard Entertainment, and acquired Everard’s 50% of their 8-screen Christchurch joint venture. The Rialto art house cinema in Newmarket, held in a 50:50 unconsolidated joint venture with SkyCity Leisure Ltd, was refurbished, expanded & reopened. And Reading acquired an existing 3-screen leasehold cinema in Queenstown.

Reading owns & operates cinemas and develops, owns & operates retail & commercial real estate assets in the US, Australia & New Zealand, including entertainment-themed retail centres in Australia & New Zealand and live theatre assets in Chicago & Manhattan.

Since the December balance date, the company has completed the placement of $US50 million in trust preferred securities. No principal payments are due until maturity in 2027.

This transaction closed on 5 February 5 and Reading used the funds principally to pay off its New Zealand bank debt ($US34.4 million, $NZ50 million) and to pay down its Australian debt (by $US5.8 million, $A7.4 million). The company has left a $US42.3 million ($NZ60 million) line of credit in place in New Zealand and increased its borrowing ability in Australia to $US10.9 million ($A13.9 million).

Websites: Reading International

NZ cinemas:



Berkeley Cinemas


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Attribution: Company release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Showgrounds upgrade unveiled

Published 22 February 2006

Auckland Showgrounds announced a $26 million upgrade programme yesterday which will see its exhibition space increased 50% to 18,000m² and made subdivisible so multiple events can be held at the same time.

The first stage of redevelopment began in November, with completion scheduled for April. It will have a new “hub”, including a foodcourt, function rooms, wine bar, entry & registration areas, and extensions to 2 exhibition halls.

The second stage, to be completed in 2007, will have a 6000m² exhibition hall with an 84m clear span.

“It will attract events that previously didn’t consider New Zealand a viable venue,” Showgrounds Society chairman Bob Tilsley said.

The redevelopment required new partnerships, announced yesterday. ASB Ltd has taken naming rights – the events centre has been renamed the ASB Showgrounds – and the bank is contributing finance in a 10-year commitment. Auckland City Council staff have been closely involved in helping a restructure of the Showgrounds organisation and the council is contributing $5 million to the redevelopment.

Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard said the project was expected to generate a $100 million/year economic benefit to the region by 2010, up from about $55 million now.

“This has got huge implications for Auckland,” the mayor said. He saw the redevelopment as another step in raising Auckland to the status of a quality international city and said the payback made the investment sensible: “Spending $26 million to generate about $50 million income/year makes a great deal of sense.”

If you want to comment on this story, write to the BD Central Discussion forum or send an email to [email protected].


Attribution: Speeches, press release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Macquarie Leisure boosts earnings by 36%

Published 22 February 2006

Australian leisure sector investor Macquarie Leisure Trust Group increased earnings by 36% to $A16.8 million as its Dreamworld theme park, d’Albora Marina and Bowling portfolios continued to perform strongly.Spending/head grew 5%, largely due to improved yield management of entry pricing and emphasis on in-park product offers, raising Dreamworld’s revenue 9.1% to $A45.4 million.Earnings/security rose 22% to 9.37c. Both the overall profit & earnings/security excluded revaluations & international financial reporting standards finance costs relating to the classification of equity.

Distributions have been increased 35% to A7c/unit.

The trust has secured development approval for Dreamworld Waterpark and Southern Star has agreed to extend the Big Brother television show’s affiliation with Dreamworld for a further 3 years.

Chief executive Greg Shaw said d’Albora Marinas was positioned for growth by redeveloping existing assets. The business increased revenue by 8.6% to $A9.1 million: “Improvements in berthing and land revenues made the most significant contribution to this result, growing by 14.8% & 15.7% respectively.” Mr Shaw said a general tightening of yields and growing interest in well located marina facilities had helped push asset values higher: “Our portfolio occupies prime locations in Australia’s most popular waterways and we are confident demand fundamentals for recreational berthing will remain strong in the foreseeable future.”The bowling business will spend $A14-16 million over the next 2 years refurbishing 13 centres, with a target 12-15% initial return and aims of capturing the children’s birthday party, family & league markets. It’s also acquired the Garden City bowling centre in Christchurch for $NZ3.275 million, conditional on assignment of the property lease & transfer of operating licences. Settlement is anticipated in March.

If you want to comment on this story, write to the BD Central Discussion forum or send an email to [email protected].


Attribution: Press release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Cinema giants AMC & Loews to merge under merged holding company

Published: 23 June 2005

Major US cinema companies AMC Entertainment Inc & Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp said on 21 June they planned to merge their businesses and their holding companies would also merge.

Loews’ holding company, LCE Holdings Inc, would be submerged in Marquee Holdings Inc, the AMC holding company which is controlled by affiliates of JP Morgan Partners LLC & Apollo Management LP. LCE’s investors include affiliates of Bain Capital Partners, The Carlyle Group & Spectrum Equity Investors, which would hold about 40% of the post-merger holding company.

The merged operator, retaining the AMC Entertainment name, will have its headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri, rather than New York, where Loews is based. It will own, manage or have interests in 450 cinemas with about 5900 screens in 30 US states & 13 other countries.

Websites: AMC Theatres

Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp

The Carlyle Corp

JP Morgan Partners

Bain Capital Partners

Spectrum Equity Investors


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Reading buys Movieland circuit

Reading International Ltd has contracted to buy 6 cinema businesses representing 27 screens, plus the underlying property interests of 3 of them.

The sites, known as the Movieland Circuit, are in Rotorua, Napier, Hastings, Kapiti Coast, Porirua & Invercargill. They’ll be rebranded under the reading name.

2 sites can be developed, enabling 4 new screens to be built soon.

Executive Director for Australia and New Zealand, Mr Wayne Smith said: “The sites represent an exciting opportunity and their acquisition is consistent with the company’s ambition to grow its portfolio of cinema-based assets. This clearly demonstrates Reading’s commitment as a leading alternative in the cinema exhibition industry with a clear focus upon the New Zealand market.”

After acquisition & construction, Reading will directly own 41 screens on 7 sites, 41 screens. Through the Berkeley Cinemas joint venture it will have an interest in 21 more screens at 4 sites. It also has an 8-screen complex due to open at the Botany town centre in December.

Reading’s executive director for Australia & New Zealand, Wayne Smith, said the company also wanted to expand its Courtenay central complex in Wellington.

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Cinema company AMC Entertainment buyout agreed

US cinema giant AMC Entertainment Inc’s board agreed last week to a $US2 billion buyout by JP Morgan Partners LLC and Apollo Management LP.

Edward Durwood founded AMC in 1920 with one screen in Kansas. His son, Stanley, opened the first multiplex in 1963 and the company remained innovative. It now has 3554 screens in 232 cinemas in 8 countries.

JP Morgan Partners is the private equity arm of JP Morgan Chase & Co while Apollo is a private investment firm.

The $US19.50/share offer is at a 37% premium to market.


AMC Entertainment

JP Morgan Partners

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