AMC Entertainment Stock Rises in Market Debut

Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

The second-largest film exhibitor, controlled by China's Dalian Wanda Group, returns to the stock market after nine years.

AMC Entertainment Holdings, the U.S. movie theater chain controlled by China's Dalian Wanda Group, saw its stock rise in its market debut on Wednesday.

The stock opened up 8 percent and was up 8.8 percent at $19.58 as of 9:45 a.m. ET.

Late Tuesday, the Leawood, Kansas-based company had set its IPO price at $18 per share, the low end of the previously announced $18-$20 range. That valued the company at roughly $1.7 billion.

PHOTOS: Brrrrrrr!: Disney's 'Frozen' and 19 Other Wintry Movies

The offering of more than 18.4 million shares of Class A common stock raised around $314.2 million before certain items. The company plans to use the net proceeds to retire debt and for general corporate purposes.

The stock started trading on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol "AMC" on a when-issued basis Wednesday, a trial run of sorts, with full regular trading starting Monday.

AMC is the second-largest movie theater group in the U.S. by revenue behind Regal Entertainment. Its revenue amounted to $2.04 billion in the first nine months of 2013. It has nearly 4,950 screens.

PHOTOS: Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2013

The IPO takes the company public for the first time in nine years after previous attempts had been shelved. Wanda, led by chairman Wang Jianlin, China's  richest man, acquired AMC last year for $2.6 billion, including debt. Wanda will retain a roughly 80 percent stake.

Twitter: @georgszalai