The IMAX cinema chain does not plan to list its China unit for another five years, its CEO told CNBC on Thursday, but when the time comes it will take place in Asia.
CEO Richard Gelfond's comments follow the sale of a fifth of its Chinese subsidiary earlier this month to local investment firm CMC Capital Partners - an investment fund focused on media and entertainment - and Chinese private equity firm FoutainVest Partners. The firms will pay $80 million for the 20 percent stake; IMAX did not receive a premium price for the stock.
Gelfond said the deal was part of the company's plan for its IPO, but was not in a position to clarify a timeframe.
"It's too early to say as we're talking about a five-year time period. I think we'll have to see how the regulatory environment in mainland China evolves, and how long it takes, and what the rules are, and then we'll make a decision," he said. "Clearly we want to do it in Asia but it's too soon to decide where we do it in Asia."
IMAX has been rapidly expanding in China over recent years, with the number of theaters jumping from 11 in 2010 to 173 currently. The firm plans to add another 237 cinemas over the next five years.