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UK's Cineworld buys time to survive theatre closures

Britain's Cineworld sealed another deal with creditors on Monday, including US$450 million in financing that the owner of the Regal theatre chain hopes will tide it over until Hollywood studios return to more regular film release schedules.

UK's Cineworld buys time to survive theatre closures

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a Cineworld in Leicester's Square, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London, Britain, October 4, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

REUTERS: Britain's Cineworld sealed another deal with creditors on Monday, including US$450 million in financing that the owner of the Regal theatre chain hopes will tide it over until Hollywood studios return to more regular film release schedules.

The deal, the latest in several rounds of debt reordering and restructuring which the company has been forced into since March, also involved the issue of equity warrants which could hand around 10per cent of company shares to its creditors.

"We look forward to resuming our operations and welcoming movie fans around the world back to the big screen for an exciting and full slate of films in 2021," Chief Executive Officer Mooky Greidinger said.

Cineworld, which has shut 536 Regal theatres in the U.S. and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK, said it had cut costs to US$60 million a month with theatres closed and had US$750 million of available cash.

While U.S. rival AMC Entertainment has kept its doors open with enough cash until early 2021, Cineworld's base case scenario assumes it has enough money if it reopens its venues by next May.

Shares in Cineworld, which have lost three quarters of their value since the start of this year, jumped 17per cent in response to the deal, as stock market investors globally also welcomed more positive results from coronavirus vaccine trials.

Cineworld has been carrying heavy debt due in part to its US$3.6 billion acquisition of Regal in 2018.

The company, which has placed all capital expenditure on hold, said it has agreed long-term rent deferral with key landlords, along with new lease agreements in some cases, while talks with other landlords are also ongoing.

(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Keith Weir)

Source: Reuters

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