Richmond Times-Dispatch

Regal cinema parent gets $750Mto stay afloat in pandemic

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Cineworld Group Plc, the parent company of Regal Entertainm­ent, has secured more than $750 million of new financing that it hopes will see it through the coronaviru­s pandemic.

In a statement released Monday, the company, which last month closed its cinemas in the U.S. and the U.K., said its finances will be bolstered over the coming months largely from a new debt facility as well as an extension of an existing credit facility.

Cineworld temporaril­y shuttered about 550 Regal cinema locations in the U.S. and Cineworld theaters in Britain last month due to a lack of blockbuste­rs as producers postpone releases because of the pandemic, including the latest James Bond film, “No Time to Die.”

Regal Entertainm­ent, the nation’s second-largest movie theater operator, operates six theaters in the Richmond region: Regal Short Pump, Regal Virginia Center and Regal West Tower Cinemas in Henrico County; Regal Westcheste­r Commons and Regal Commonweal­th in Chesterfie­ld County; and Regal Southpark in Colonial Heights.

“We look forward to resuming our operations and welcoming movie fans around the world back to the big screen for an exciting and full slate of films in 2021,” said Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld’s chief executive.

The group’s base case scenario assumes a reopening of cinemas no later than May. In the event of a further delay, it said it expects to retain sufficient liquidity for a number of months longer, but said that may require support from lenders.

Despite that caveat, news of the new financing arrangemen­ts sent shares in the company soaring 17% in London.

The hope is that the new money will help the company ride out the pandemic until vaccines are available in coming months.

“With vaccine developmen­t progressin­g, this should give investors significan­tly greater confidence in Cineworld emerging from the crisis, allowing the company to capture demand as it returns with a robust slate of postponed films,” said analysts at Investec.

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