Imax shares rise on Casablanca deal


TORONTO -- Shares in Imax Corp. rose sharply Monday after the giant-screen exhibitor said that Moroccan retail developer Al Amine Investissement has agreed to install a super-sized screen in early 2009 at its giant Morocco Mall complex in Casablanca.

The deal, the first for Toronto-based Imax in Morocco, sent shares in the company up CAN$0.37 ($0.36), or nearly 9%, to CAN$4.54 ($4.45) on the Toronto Stock Exchange during mid-morning trading.

Imax said that the Moroccan exhibitor will install an MPX theater system capable of screening digitally remastered Hollywood movies as well as 2-D and 3-D Imax films. Al Amine Investissement could also opt to install a new digital projection system should they be available when the Morocco Mall installation takes place.

The Imax digital theater system is in the test stage, with plans for a commercial rollout slated from mid-2008.

"We believe the Imax theater will be a perfect fit for our project in Casablanca because the world-famous Imax brand brings a prestigious image to our mall," said Selwa Akhannouch, president and director general of Groupe Aksal, a co-owner of Al Amine Investissement.

On June 30, Imax reported that it has 290 large-format theaters in operation in 40 countries.