Last week, French exhibition group Pathé announced the acquisition of Belgian group Euroscoop’s 6 sites in Belgium and 3 sites in the Netherlands. This will add 91 screens and 19,000 seats to the French group. Other two cinemas are underway in Amsterdam and The Hague, with 22 screens and 4,800 additional seats.
After the acquisition Pathe will operate a total of 1,231 screens in 4 European territories and Tunisia and is expanding its footprint in North Africa with its first multiplex in Morocco also underway.
Separately, Kinepolis Group has just bought the recently renovated Dutch Cinema Arcaplex in Amsterdam with 9 screens. Kinepolis is present in 7 territories in Europe as well as Canada and North America after the acquisition of Landmark and MJR respectively, and operates 1,057 screens. Recently, Kinepolis had lifted one of the behavioural remedies imposed upon its foundation in 1997 and will be allowed, after a transitional period, to build new complexes without the express permission of the Belgian Competition Authority, as long as they had fewer than 7 screens and 1,125 seats,. Other remedies remain in place such as the inability to obtain exclusive rights to films, prohibition to acquire complexes without BCA’s prior approval.
In the two markets of the Netherland and Belgium, Pathe sold 16.3 million tickets in 2018, Kinepolis 12 million and Euroscoop 3.4 million.
As is common in small territories, market concentration of cinema operators is high in both the Netherlands and Belgium.
According to Cinema Operators Strategic Intelligence, the top 3 groups hold 49.4% of all screens in the Netherlands, with Pathé dominating the market with 25.9% after the acquisition of Euroscoop; in Belgium, concentration goes up to 55.9% with Kinepolis holding 26% of the market and Pathe now second with 17.2%.These announcements and the recent ruling by the Belgian court will likely increase market concentration in both markets and make both Pathe and Kinepolis dominant players.