Cinema setback

Cineworld shares plunge on bankruptcy alert

Cineworld is struggling under a mountain of debt

Cineworld, the second largest cinema chain, is said to be preparing for bankruptcy amid plunging ticket sales and slow film releases.

Shares plunged more than 60% in afternoon trade to 3.4p following the report. Before the pandemic it was trading at 197p.

The company recently said post-Covid customers levels were lower than expected and blamed the “limited” number of new movie releases. It is also struggling under £4 billion of debt.

It had hoped that blockbusters such as Top Gun: Maverick and Thor: Love And Thunder would draw audiences back after Covid restrictions were lifted.

But earlier this week it admitted: “Despite a gradual recovery of demand since reopening in April 2021, recent admission levels have been below expectations.

“These lower levels of admissions are due to a limited film slate that is anticipated to continue until November 2022 and are expected to negatively impact trading and the group’s liquidity position in the near term.”

The cinema industry was one of the worst hit sectors during the pandemic with many theatres closed for extended periods or operating at reduced capacity.

Cineworld has 9,189 screens across more than 750 sites. It operates in 10 countries, including the UK, the US, Poland and Israel, and employs more than 28,000 people.

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