Dubai PE firm Abraaj invests in Pakistani cinema operator Cinepax: Reuters

Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Group said on Wednesday it made an investment in Pakistan’s top cinema operator, Cinepax, to drive expansion over the next four years.

Abraaj will help Cinepax in developing 80 new screens across multiple locations, the private equity firm said in a statement.

Cinepax will also develop other entertainment-related ventures, the statement said, but did not reveal the value of the investment.

Cinepax, which launched its first multiplex in 2007, has since established itself as the market leader in the country, boasting 29 screens in 12 locations.

Pakistan’s current low ratio of cinema screens of 0.5 per million people and the possibility of revitalising the local film industry presents a compelling investment opportunity, Abraaj said.

The investment will help build confidence among international investors about the Pakistan film industry, Nadeem Mandviwalla, head of a private Pakistani film distribution company and owner of multiple cinema screens told Reuters.

Cinepax marks Abraaj’s ninth investment in Pakistan spanning a number of sectors including healthcare, power distribution, renewable energy and industrials.

Abraaj, which bought a majority stake in 2009 in power utility K-Electric, agreed in October 2016 to divest the 66.4 percent shareholding to the Shanghai Electric Power Co Ltd for $1.77 billion.