Suman Chowdhury, President-ratings at Acuité Ratings and Research:
"The spill-over effect of the Covid-19 crisis on the Indian film exhibition is likely to be very significant over the next 3-4 months. While the reported number of infections in India stand as of now at over 125 and mortalities have been limited, the central government and the state governments have already initiated strong measures to stem the expected spread of the virus. These measures include an embargo on public events, shutdown of schools, malls and other places of public activity by an increasing number of state governments. All these measures and along with it, the increased risk of contagion in public spaces is expected to lead to a very sharp drop in footfalls in the multiplexes particularly those in malls. Acuité expects a precipitous drop of over 50% in multiplex footfalls in the next 2-3 months particularly for those which are primarily located in retail malls at Tier I/II cities. Typically, the holiday season of April-June is the peak time for big movie releases; however, the latter may get postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis. It is estimated that box office collections have already declined yoy over 10% in Jan-Feb 2020 and this is likely to get worse in Q1FY21. This will lead to a substantial drop in quarterly EBITDA for listed multiplex players such as PVR and INOX."