Imax lays off 100 as box of­fice slows

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Ryan Faugh­n­der ryan.faugh­n­der@la­times.com Twit­ter: @rfaugh­n­der

Big screen cin­ema giant Imax Corp. is lay­ing off 100 em­ploy­ees, or 14% of its work­force, in a move to im­prove prof­itabil­ity, the com­pany said Mon­day.

The lay­offs are part of a broader plan to re­duce costs by $20 mil­lion an­nu­ally at a time when its stock price is sag­ging. The Cana­dian com­pany’s stock has de­clined about 30% since March to $24 a share amid re­cent slug­gish­ness at the global box of­fice.

The com­pany gen­er­ated $68.7 mil­lion in rev­enue in the first three months of the year, down 25% from a year ear­lier, Imax said in April. Net in­come dur­ing the pe­riod was $75,000, down from $11.3 mil­lion in the prior-year quar­ter.

The com­pany has of­fices in New York, Toronto and Los An­ge­les, but did not say how many of the lay­offs would be lo­cal. The cuts are ex­pected to be felt across Imax’s di­vi­sions, and will also af­fect jobs in China, where there has been a sharp slow­down in box-of­fice growth.

“We are com­mit­ted to ex­pand­ing our the­ater net­work, pur­su­ing new ini­tia­tives and de­liv­er­ing value to share­hold­ers,” Imax Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Richard Gel­fond said in a state­ment. “A more stream­lined cost struc­ture will en­able us to scale our busi­ness with in­creased ef­fi­ciency and fa­cil­i­tate oper­at­ing lever­age dur­ing both strong and weak pe­ri­ods of box of­fice.”

Imax also an­nounced a new plan to re­pur­chase up to $200 mil­lion in shares by June 30, 2020. This fol­lows the com­pany’s pre­vi­ous $200-mil­lion re­pur­chase pro­gram, which is end­ing this month.

The com­pany ex­pects to re­port a re­struc­tur­ing and im­pair­ment charge of $15 mil­lion this year be­cause of the cost-re­duc­tion ef­forts.

Imax has been growing its global net­work of movie the­ater screens. The com­pany now counts 1,226 the­aters in 75 coun­tries, com­pared with 1,066 the­aters a year ago.

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