Oct 5, 2020

Cineworld shares plunge as chain shuts UK and US screens

Cineworld, the world's second-largest cinema group, confirmed on Monday that it would suspend screenings across the UK and US after the next James Bond film became the latest blockbuster to be delayed. Shares in the chain, which operates 536 Regal cinemas in the US and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse screens in the UK, plunged almost 50 per cent in early trading following the announcement that the cinemas would shut from Thursday. Without new releases from studios, Cineworld said that it "Cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK - the company's primary markets - with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of Covid-19". Cineworld did not provide a detailed timetable for when its screens would reopen, and the decision will deepen the group's struggles as the US and UK markets make up almost 90 per cent of its revenues. Last month, Cineworld revealed that it made a $1.6bn pre-tax loss in the first half of the year and had $8.2bn net debt.

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