In a statement to market today, the exhibition giant said, “Given the impact that COVID-19 is having on the broader markets, we feel it is important to update our shareholders on current trading. Thus far, we have not observed any material impact on our movie theatre admissions due to COVID-19. Following an increase in admissions in the first two months of the year against the same period in the previous year, we continue to see good levels of admissions in all our territories, despite the reported spread of COVID-19. Although the release of the new Bond movie has been postponed to November 2020 largely due to closure of cinemas in the Asian markets, the studios have advised us that in the countries in which we operate, they currently remain committed to their release schedule for the coming months and remainder of the year.”
The missive then turned to potential measures to combat financial loss from the virus, “There can be no certainty as to the future impact of COVID-19. We are however taking measures to ensure that we prepare our business for all possible eventualities. Should conditions relating to COVID-19 continue or worsen, we have measures at our disposal to reduce the impact on our business including, but not limited to, capex postponement and cost reduction.”
Coronavirus has ravaged box office in Asia and Italy to date. Bond movie No Time To Die became the biggest tentpole to shift dates earlier this week.
The Cineworld group also issued financial information for the year ending 31 December 2019 ahead of the release of audited results for that period on 12 March.
Revenue stood at around $4.4B with adjusted EBITDA of around $1BN. Net debt (excluding lease liabilities) was $3.5B.