Vista Group signs deal with biggest cinema exhibitor in Africa

It has been a busy year so far for Vista.

Vista Group International [NZX: VGL], named PwC Hi-Tech company of the year at New Zealand's annual Hi-Tech Awards, has inked its first deal to provide its cinema software to theatres in Africa.

The company's Vista Entertainment Solutions and Movio units won a contract to provide their cinema industry software to Ster-Kinekor, the largest cinema exhibitor on the African continent, the Auckland-based company said in a statement.

Ster-Kinekor is already a customer of VGL's MACCS International for its film distribution business, and with the latest deal becomes the second Vista customer licensed to three VGL products, it said. The deal had been expected and was reflected in Vista's expectations for revenue this year. The rollout of Vista and Movio software across all of Ster-Kinekor's sites is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.

Ster-Kinekor has 66 (licensed) sites and 480 large-scale screens across South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, the company said. Vista's market share in Africa and the Middle East will increase to 60% for cinemas with 20 screens or more and will enable Movio to collect moviegoer loyalty data for over 60% of the screens in South Africa, it said.

It has been a busy year so far for Vista, which announced the acquisition of movie website Flicks for an undisclosed sum. In February chief executive Murray Holdaway said the company had about $27 million of cash on hand that it would use for any new purchases.

In naming Vista the Hi-Tech company of the year last weekend, the judges said the company truly had "worldwide potential."

It was founded in 1996 after Holdaway and commercial and legal director Brian Cadzow initially entered into a 50:50 joint venture with film exhibitor Village to develop a cinema ticketing system for its multi-screen theatres and later bought it out with a bunch of other shareholders.

Its global market share in the large cinema market has grown to 38%.

Vista shares last traded at $5.85, having been sold in the 2014 initial public offering at $2.35 apiece.


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