Alfa Group Will Be Taken to the Cinema
by Vitaly Podolsky and Andrey Tereshok
The Kronverk Cinema network (owned by Alfa Group Consortium) has changed the Management team: Andrey Tereshok, ex-head of Formula Kino, has been appointed as a new CEO, whereas Vitaly Podolsky, former top manager of Х5 Retail Group, “Euroset”, “Mosmart” and Hediard, has been appointed as the Chairman of the Board. They are assigned to double the number of screens in Kronverk Cinema by 2013, inter alia through the acquisition of currently existing cinema networks.
Yesterday the Board of JSC "Epos", which operates a network of cinemas Kronverk Cinema, appointed Vitaly Podolsky as its Chairman of the Board and Andrey Tereshok as a CEO, the company’s Press Service reported to Russian newspaper Kommersant daily. They replaced in these positions, respectively, Anastasia Lifanova and Andrey Tsarev (who acted as General Director after Ozan Kansu left his post this February). It was confirmed by Andrey Von, Managing Director of the A1 Investment Company (the key investment division of the Alfa Group Consortium, which owns Kronverk Cinema).
Kronverk Cinema was founded by Eduard Pichugin in 2001. A1 purchased 100% of the network for about $45 million in 2006. Currently, the chain consists of 16 cinemas (including eight in St. Petersburg, four in Moscow, and one in the Ukraine).
Most recently Vitaly Podolsky worked in a French chain of gastronomic boutiques Hediard owned by Sergei Pugachev, where he was a president from June through to November 2010. In 2009, for five months he also headed the grocery chain Mosmart as CEO, and earlier he served as CFO of the Euroset and Х5 Retail Group (chains of Pyaterochka, Perekrestok, Carousel and others). As Mr. Podolsky explained, presently he was also a member of the Board of Directors of “Rosinter Restaurants Holding” (restaurant chain Il Patio, Planeta Sushi, TGI Friday`s, etc.), and starting from this April he also headed the financial and strategic committee of the Board of Directors of the Kazakhstan Company RG Brands (maker of beverages and snacks).
In the year 2000, Andrey Tereshok served as CFO in the store chain, owned by Compulink, the same year he moved to the similar position in “Movie Formula”, and in 2005 he was appointed as CEO of the cinema network.
Shareholders set a goal at least to double the numbers of cinema screens in the network by 2013, and during the next three years, fully transfer the existing facilities to digital projectors, said Mr. Tereshok. According to Nevafilm Research as of 31 December 2010, film theatres Kronverk Cinema had a total of 105 halls. It makes it the forth largest network in Russia after the Karo Film (170 halls), “Cinema Park (159 halls) and Kinomaks (112 halls) with a market share by number of screens of 4.3%. While, digital facilities were only 28 halls, or 26.7% of the Kronverk Cinema chain. For comparison, Karo Film had 35.3%, “Cinema Park” – 46.5%, and Kinomaks — 21.4%.
According to Mr. Podolsky, Kronverk Cinema will also invest in the chain brand development and customer service quality improvement. “Currently Russian audience is oriented mostly on the repertoire (movie schedule) and location of the cinema. At the same time the majority of players are positioned vaguely, having facilities (halls) of different quality. But the market saturation will increase the brand role," he explained.
A1 has not disclosed the information on the volume of the potential investments into the new facilities (halls). “We will be ready to consider, inter alia M&A transactions, but so far it is early talking about it. The new Chairman of the Board will focus on the strategic development of Kronverk Cinema, clarified Andery Von. Eduard Pichugin is sure that Kronverk Cinema will have to acquire the existing cinema chains to ensure the growth of screens by the stated rate. “In this case it is difficult to estimate the investment amount, as it depends on the agreements of the parties. Cinema purchase and sale market is almost stopped now,” he added.