UFO Moviez raises US$22 million from 3i Group

10 Jan 2007

Mumbai-based UFO Moviez, the world's largest digital cinema chain has raised US$22 million of equity financing from 3i Group, a world leader in private equity and venture capital. 3i has subscribed to cumulative convertible preference shares issued by UFO Moviez and has the option to invest an additional US$3 million at a later date. UFO Moviez is backed by Apollo International Limited, a subsidiary of ‘Group Apollo’, led by Onkar S. Kanwar.

The investment will fund UFO Moviez' aggressive expansion plans. UFO Moviez, pioneers in the cutting edge and fast growing digital cinema market, will use the capital to invest in the necessary hardware to expand its footprint in India and abroad. Immediate expansion plans include the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa, with this roll out starting in January 2007. UFO Moviez is currently present in 600 theatres across India and plans to create a chain of 3000 digital cinema houses worldwide by 2008.

“This investment is a validation of UFO Moviez’ strategy and market positioning,” explained Mr. Onkar S Kanwar, Chairman, UFO Moviez. “The digital media arena is truly exhilarating, both in terms of revenue and technological opportunity, and we are delighted to have such forward-looking investors join us in our mission to significantly improve the cinema distribution and viewing experience.  The involvement of 3i will enhance our ability to address this fast-growing market.”

Mr. Chris Rowlands, 3i Managing Partner, Asia and Group Markets, says “We are very excited to invest in the largest digital cinema chain in the world. We were very impressed with the speed with which UFO Moviez has been able to successfully roll out its solution - over 600 screens across India in little over 12 months. We believe UFO Moviez’ value proposition of enhancing returns for exhibitors and distributors, offering advertisers a unique, one window platform and addressing the issue of piracy, to be a winner. The professional management team led by Sanjay Gaikwad, and backed by ‘Group Apollo’, is an ideal combination.”

UFO Moviez uses a MPEG-4 technology solution to digitize, compress and deliver movies to theatres via satellite. This is the only MPEG4 based satellite delivery digital cinema model in the world. By eliminating print, UFO Moviez saves the film industry significant cost and logistical problems. The aim of UFO Moviez is to ensure maximum, widespread and simultaneous "First Week" release of movies on its platform.  Due to the encryption used in the technology and the elimination of physical prints, UFO Moviez also helps counter the problem of piracy currently plaguing the entertainment industry worldwide.

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital with operations in Europe, the United States and Asia. It is active across all stages of funding. From early-stage venture capital to growth capital, buyouts and infrastructure, 3i invests about £1.4bn (€2bn) a year in some of the most exciting and ambitious unquoted companies in the world. The firm’s purpose is to substantially increase the value of its portfolio companies and then to realise this value, both for the firm and for its partners, through trade sales and stock market listings.

3i Growth Capital is the world’s largest growth capital fund investing over €1bn every year in businesses across Europe, Asia and the US.  We provide financial and strategic support to established businesses with the potential for outstanding value growth.  We invest between €10m - €150m to help businesses achieve their growth ambitions, restructure shareholdings, release equity or change the balance of equity to debt.  Once we have invested, we are committed to working in partnership with majority shareholders.

Recent investments include Electrawinds, Benelux, €30m; ACR, Singapore, €150m; NECL, India, €35m; Giraffe, UK, €15m; GAPL, India, €38m; Empruntis.com, France, €32m; Sten, Spain, €100m and HTC, Sweden, €11m.  Recent realisations include Poliris, France, €350m; Alimak Hek, Sweden, €238m; Salamander Energy, UK, €307m; CH4 Energy, UK, €224m; Magix, Germany, €207m; Williams Lea, UK, €165m; Gant, Sweden, €241m; Republic, UK, €150m and Petrofac, UK, €1.1bn.

3i’s commitment to India is evident from the fact that prior to UFO Moviez, it has invested in eight other companies and has committed over US$300 million to date.

For further information please contact:

Kathryn van der Kroft
email. kathryn.vanderkroft@3i.com
tel.  +44 207 975 3021