Cineworld stops sale of UK and US operations amid debt restructuring

Troubled cinema chain Cineworld has said it will raise 2.26 billion US dollars (£1.8 billion) in new funding as part of a plan to exit bankruptcy and terminate a planned sale of its US, UK and Irish businesses.

The debt-ridden group, which runs around 750 sites globally, filed for bankruptcy protection in the US last year.

It has now said it will restructure its roughly five billion dollar debt pile in order to emerge from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy during the first half of 2023.

The financial restructuring will involve lenders providing around 1.46 billion dollars (£1.2 billion) in new credit, as well as 800 million dollars (£651 million) of equity to the lenders.

Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves premiere – London
The UK premiere of Dungeons And Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, at Cineworld Leicester Square in London (Ian West/PA)

However, after struggling to find an acceptable offer, it said on Monday it will now halt the potential sale efforts for the businesses in the UK, US and Ireland.

It will however continue with an auction for its operations outside of these countries.

Mooky Greidinger, chief executive of Cineworld, said: “This agreement with our lenders represents a ‘vote-of-confidence’ in our business and significantly advances Cineworld towards achieving its long-term strategy in a changing entertainment environment.

“With a growing slate of blockbusters and audiences returning to cinemas in increasing numbers, Cineworld is poised to continue offering moviegoers the most immersive cinema experiences and maintain its position as the ‘best place to watch a movie’.”

The group said it will continue to trade as “business as usual” throughout the financial restructuring process.

Cineworld’s shares have plunged almost 99% over the past five years, as it was hit particularly hard by the pandemic, which led to the enforced closure of its cinema sites.

The business has posted significant losses since and has also come under pressure from growth in streaming services.

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