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Cineworld Plans To Ask Its Shareholders To Approve An Increase In Its Debt Ceiling After Recording A $3bn Loss For Last Year

Published on Mar 26 2021 1:43 PM in General Industry tagged: cineworld

Cineworld Plans To Ask Its Shareholders To Approve An Increase In Its Debt Ceiling After Recording A $3bn Loss For Last Year

Cineworld will ask its shareholders to approve an increase in its debt ceiling next month after the pandemic-stricken cinema group recorded a $3 billion loss for last year.

The owner of Regal Cinemas and the Cineworld venue on Dublin's Parnell Street, forced by coronavirus lockdowns to shut most of its almost 800 theatres in October and temporarily lay off approximately 45,000 staff, sunk to its first pre-tax loss as a listed company last year, after a $212.3 million profit in 2019.

Its shares tumbled 9% to 94 pence in early Thursday March 25 trading, the worst performance on the UK mid-cap index.

The group, which is set to reopen its US chains next month, said that it has secured commitments for a new $213 million 7.5% convertible bond due in 2025 to bolster its finances. It also has waivers on its borrowing terms until June next year.

It expects to reopen cinemas in Britain and the rest of the world in May, and sees pent-up demand after strong industry reopenings in China, Japan and Australia.

Big-budget releases such as Marvel's superhero film Black Widow, the James Bond movie No Time to Die and Godzilla vs. Kong could also give a boost.

But the London-listed company said that there remains material uncertainty about its ability to stay in business, and further coronavirus restrictions, or delays in new movie releases, will probably require it to raise more funds.

Cineworld's net debt at the end of 2020 was $8.32 billion, which is more than four times its current market value.

On top of coronavirus lockdowns, cinema groups are grappling with the soaring popularity of streaming services.

"Crawling back to profitability after such a big hit will require almost superhero levels of effort," Hargreaves analyst Susannah Streeter said.

Adjusted for one-off items, Cineworld's 2020 loss was $1.33 billion, compared with analysts' average forecast for a $1.29 billion loss, according to Refinitiv data. Revenue plunged by 81% to $852.3 million.

Rated "Junk"

The group's debt is rated "junk" by major credit rating agencies and its combined credit score, a measure of how likely a company is to default in the next year on a scale of 100 (very unlikely) to 1 (highly likely), was "1" as of March 25, data from Refinitiv Eikon showed.

Odeon Parent Company Revenue Decline

The above news follows news from earlier this week that the company behind the Odeon cinema chain in Ireland, AMC Holdings, has reported that its revenue in Ireland decreased by more than 75% in 2020 due to the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the cinema industry.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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