In a release issued late Monday afternoon, Jerome Fitzgerald, chairman of RND Holdings, said effective yesterday, Galleria Cinemas assumed management control of the theatre located on John F. Kennedy Drive as well as the Freeport location. Galleria has entered into a long-term lease arrangement for the rental of the two theatre locations from RND Holdings.
In a brief interview with The Guardian Monday, Mr. Fitzgerald revealed that the Abaco location, which was not a part of the sale, would remain open until late June or July. RND is hoping during this time to either sell the operation or rent it out as retail space. He also reaffirmed previously announced plans to search for a buyer for The Company’s 100 per cent interest in Caribbean Health and Fitness operators of the Gold’s Gym Franchise.
Mr. Fitzgerald said that although over the last two months the company has focused its entire attention on finalising the sale of the cinema business, selling that operation was still their intention. He also added that until the sale was finalised the company was also wary of making any advancement on the ticketing transaction business, which along with the company’s real estate holdings will now comprise the core business.
Mr. Fitzgerald described the two-month negotiations as amicable and the management transition as smoothed. He said now that the sale was complete the board of RND can now restructure the company and begin to report positive results.
RND Holdings originally announced the sale in the company’s annual general meeting on Dec. 31. At this meeting, Mr. Fitzgerald said the sale was initiated by Galleria and after securing favourable terms, RND agreed to the transaction. Among the terms requested by RND was security for the cinema staff, exclusive selling rights on all cinema tickets and long-term lease commitments for the complexes in Nassau and Freeport.
In the AGM is was also stated that the bulk of the $4.7 million received from the sale would be used to pay down the company’s massive debt, which includes a $4.8 million dollar loan with First Caribbean International Bank. A portion of the sales proceeds was also earmarked for investment in the growing ticketing transaction business and further real estate development.
As a part of the exclusive ticketing agreement with Galleria, RND Holdings is expected to receive seven cents for each ticket sold. Ticket sales will now be controlled centrally through RND’s head office, which is expected to hold the entire inventory of tickets for the cinemas.
Martella Matthews, The Nassau Guardian