AMC Entertainment shares plummeted more than 26% in post market trading today after it issued a preview report of its Q2 results with numbers way below expectations.
As a result, it says, it has introduced “a domestic cost reduction and revenue enhancement plan” designed to save $30 million by the end of the year.
The plan includes “strategic pricing” plus “adjusting scheduling practices, reductions in operating hours, staffing levels, and additional general operating expense line items” that affect “both the Theatre Support Center based in Leawood, Kansas and AMC’s domestic theatre locations.”
The plan began last month and continues through year end.
The world’s largest exhibition chain, owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group, says it expects a net loss for Q2 of between $178.5 million to $174.5 million, down from a $24 million profit in the period last year.
The loss includes a $202.6 million impairment charge for its investment in National CineMedia. The value of NCM shares “further declined significantly” below AMC’s carrying cost, and it considers that “other than temporary.”
(NCM shares have depreciated 50.7% since the beginning of 2017, and are down 1.4% in post market trading today.)
With its recent acquisitions of Carmike Cinemas and Odeon and UCI Cinemas, AMC expects to report Q2 revenues of $1.2 billion, up from $764 million.
But that’s still short of the $1.26 billion that analysts anticipated.
The per share loss of between $1.36 and $1.34 a share compares to expectations for a one cent loss.
AMC attributes part of the problem to “industry box office trends” with a 3.3% drop in sales for North America including a 4.4% fall in the U.S.
Trends in Europe “improved in the countries served by AMC, growing by double-digit percentage year over year,” it says. Still, the growth “did not produce as big a benefit as it might have otherwise” because Q2 “is seasonally often the smallest quarter of the year.”
AMC anticipates “a very challenging” Q3.
The chain still plans to release its formal numbers on Monday after the market closes.
It offered for the first time financial guidance for the rest of this year — based in part on its assumption that industry wide North American box office sales will come in at $11.2 billion, down 1.8% vs last year.
Among other things, AMC expects its own revenues to come in at as much as $5.23 billion — below analyst expectations for $5.26 billion.
The company’s net loss could hit $150 million, and $1.17 per share. Analysts anticipated a 58 cent per share profit for the year.
Attendance is expected to total between 350 million and 360 million for the year.
AMC says it expects to end the year recording between $600 million and $670 million in gross capital expenditures. Earlier the company anticipated it would spend between $700 million and $750 million.
In a report yesterday, B. Riley’s Eric Wold said that if AMC cut spending on its theater remodeling initiatives, including installation of recliner seats, then it could “adversely impact the long-term growth view.”
AMC shares had lost more than 38% of their value in 2017 up to today’s announcement. If the post-market prices hold tomorrow, then the stock will be down more than 55% for the year.
AMC’s news had a ripple effect on other exhibition companies. Regal Entertainment is down 2.4% in post market trading, Cinemark is -2.4%, and Imax is -0.9%,