Decision on new Kinepolis complexes in late March

Belgium’s competition authority is to decide in late March on the possibility for Kinepolis to open new complexes in Belgium more easily from 2020, the cinema group announced on Wednesday as it presented its latest annual results.

In May 2018, at the group’s request, the authority lifted conditions imposed on Kinepolis in 1997 and softened other conditions. As a result, Kinepolis no longer required its permission to open new cinema complexes in Belgium or to renovate existing infrastructure.

However, in late November, the Brussels appeals court, petitioned by a competitor of the group, annulled the authority’s decision. The court upheld the petitioner’s claim on procedural grounds. Kinepolis then filed an updated application for the conditions to be lifted. The authority’s decision is expected in late March.

“We note that the market in Belgium is developing less in terms of new complexes and we’re unable to see how growth can be achieved except to the detriment of the consumer,” said Kinepolis CEO Eddy Dequenne. “We are waiting for the next step in this never-ending story in late March,” he added, expressing confidence in the outcome.

The group owns about 40% of the local market, according to its CEO, with 11 complexes and about 138 screens. It has a total of 97 complexes and 870 screens throughout Europe and Canada.

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