As it faces up to the huge coronavirus challenge, exhibition giant Cineworld has suspended payment of its 2019 fourth quarter dividend of 4.25c per share and upcoming 2020 quarterly dividends in a bid to “conserve cash wherever possible”.
The Regal-owner also announced today that executive directors will defer payment of their salaries and bonuses. Non-executive directors will defer their fees.
The group’s entire estate of 787 cinemas in ten countries has been closed as a result of COVID-19, a situation the company admitted seemed “impossible to imagine a few months ago”.
In today’s update, the world’s second largest cinema operator commented, “Every effort is being made to mitigate the effect of the closures, to assist our employees and to preserve cash. These efforts include discussions with our landlords, the film studios and major suppliers, as well as curtailing all currently unnecessary capital expenditure. This is a painful but necessary process as before the onslaught of the COVID-19 virus, we were excited and confident about the Group’s future prospects. We are also discussing the Group’s ongoing liquidity requirements with our RCF banks….We continue to monitor progress of the Group’s proposed acquisition of Cineplex.”
Cineworld, which employs close to 40,000 people globally, has tapped into different government-supported furloughing schemes to help continue to pay some staff.
Yesterday, we spoke to CEO Mooky Greidinger about the company and sector outlook amid the crisis.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.