AMC Entertainment saw revenue jump to $763 million last quarter, beating Wall Street forecasts on a strong movie slate and accelerating theatrical recovery.
Adjusted EPS losses of 44 cents a share shrank from a loss of $8.41 a year ago. Analysts had anticipated sales of $708 million with an EPS loss of 53 cents.
As of quarter’s end on September 30, AMC operated 596 domestic theatres and 351 internationally. Substantially all of them were open for the entirety of the third quarter. Some 40 million moviegoers attended during the quarter.
Aron said the world’s largest chain is also encouraged by the results from the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2021. Indeed, as we announced just a week ago, our October theatre admissions revenues were the highest of any month since before the global pandemic forced the closure of our cinemas more than a year and a half ago. That is just one more good sign among many we have seen in 2021,” said CEO Adam Aron.
The company’s liquidity, a constant source of stress for 2020, stood at $1.8 billion, including cash and undrawn revolving credit lines which “gives us comfort,” Aron said, and he doesn’t
anticipate having to borrow under those lines of credit in the next 12 months. “This strong liquidity position provides a foundation for us to innovate, as well as imaginatively grow and diversify our business,” he said.
AMC stock closed up more than 8% Monday at $45 ahead of the numbers.
The share price has been a big story this year. AMC was one of the first to shoot to the moon in a meme-stock craze that boosted GameStop and a few other highly-shorted companies. The exhibitor’s shares surged in January when meme stocks exploded and again in June, allowing the company to raise desperately needed cash by selling shares at the inflated price and, refinancing and even adding some new theaters. The stock has given up some gains but is still well off its 52-week low of — yes, under two bucks.
The meme stock craze was fueled on Reddit and across social media when #SaveAMC started trending amid the chain’s widely reported financial straits and to stick it to shorts, who bet that stocks will fall. Retail investors transformed the shareholder base, with the company now 80% owned by individuals – as opposed to big financial institutions and funds.
Aron has become a new breed of CEO who spends a significant amount of time engaging with his base on Twitter and has created a special investor site with free movie snacks and plans to accept crypto for payments and sell AMC popcorn at mall kiosks.
His investors love him. But the stock price for months has been untethered from AMC’s financial realities, albeit in recovering box office landscape, leading Wall Street analysts to throw up their hands. This is a new model for a public company and a for a public company CEO. Aron’s been pretty exuberant publicly about it all but acknowledged in a recent CNBC documentary on meme stocks that it’s like “riding a tiger by the tail, and I’ve got the tail and am holding on for dear life.”