S&P Global said the world’s largest exhibitor AMC Entertainment risks running out of cash by mid-summer and the ratings agency doesn’t think movie theaters will reopen in June – a prediction AMC CEO Adam Aron made on CNBC this week.
“We expect AMC Entertainment … theaters will remain closed beyond June due to the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. We do not believe AMC has sufficient sources of liquidity to cover its expected negative cash flows past mid-summer, and we believe the company will likely breach” a debt covenant in September absent a waiver from its lender, S&P said, knocking the company’s credit rating to ‘CCC-‘ From ‘B-‘ with Outlook Negative.
It noted uncertainty about the rate of the coronavirus’ spread and said some government authorities estimate the peak will come between June and August, an assumption it’s using to assess the economic and credit implications of the pandemic – including a timeline for theaters to reopen and attendance to normalize.
Even after significantly lowering its fixed costs and capital spending requirements – AMC Entertainment has furloughed its entire staff from the CEO on down – “We only expect the company’s liquidity sources to last through mid-summer,” S&P said. The company will likely pursue incremental financing through the CARES act – approved by lawmakers and President Trump last week – or its lenders, “but it is unclear when or if it will be able to secure additional liquidity.”
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that lenders to the company have hired lawyers for advice on expected restructuring negotiations.
S&P said it could raise its rating if AMC were able to secure additional liquidity without further burdening its capital structure and if seemed likely the company would be able to generate substantial cash flow in 2021.
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