The Globe and Mail reports in its Friday, March 13, edition that Cineworld could fail to meet its debt commitments in a worst-case coronavirus scenario, it warned on Thursday, although it plans to press ahead with its $1.65-billion (U.S.) takeover of Canadian rival Cineplex ($25.02 (Canadian)).
A Reuters dispatch to The Globe reports that the London-listed company operates about 9,500 screens globally, with more than 7,000 in the United States, where it generates three quarters of its revenue. The Cineplex deal announced three months ago will make Cineworld the biggest cinema operator in North America.
Cineworld, however, the biggest shareholder of which sold part of its interest on Monday to refinance debt, is also grappling with worries over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and investor short-selling on concerns over the company's debt position.
Shares in the company plunged nearly 49 per cent on Thursday to their lowest in more than 10 years at 45.59 pence.
Cineworld said that in a worst-case scenario it might have to close all cinemas for up to three months.
Jefferies analysts previously estimated that the company was burning about $115-million (U.S.) a month.
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