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Wages a factor in cinema group's Wellington move

Published: 9:51AM Thursday June 02, 2011 Source: ONE News

An international cinema and property business say low wages in New Zealand are one of the reasons behind a move to relocate their back office here.

Reading International CFO Andrzej Matyczynski told TVNZ today that the company, which run the Rialto Cinemas chain, is moving its finance headquarters from Australia and the United States to Wellington, creating 17 new jobs here.

"Clearly, the wage rates are competitive so that was a financial reason and the currency is in our favour."

He also said the move was based on their investment profile and that New Zealand was a prime Investment location for them.

Currently the business operates 11 cinemas under the Reading and Rialto brands, with a total of 60 screens.

"If we are planning on expanding in New Zealand, the move makes total sense for us," Matyczynski said.

A "tough and well qualified" work force in Wellington and their established property portfolios in the city also made the move attractive.

"There's a very professional work force here," he said.

"The training time frame is much shorter because you are already dealing with international financial reporting standards which are very close to United States standards."

Matyczynsk told AMP Business expansion plans include their central Wellington entertainment complex but also other property investments.

"We are always looking for acquisitions on the cinema side, but one shouldn't forget that we are not just a cinema company, we are a real estate company.

"Probably over 60% of our assets are hard real estate assets so while cinemas provide over 90% revenue, we use that revenues and the cash flow that's provided to re-investment in the low term benefit of the assets that we have."

Reading's investment in Wellington has been welcomed by Employers' Chamber of Commerce Central region Chief Executive, Ken Harris.

"Wellington has gained world recognition as a hub for the service and entertainment industries," says Harris.

"When a great organisation like Reading invests in our economy, it reinforces the financial and operational advantages the city offers, and we will continue to promote a friendly business environment to encourage more international enterprises to follow suit."

The team is based in offices at the company's flagship Courtenay Central entertainment and retail complex in Courtney Place.