Cineworld may need more money if doors close again

New curbs could be a major setback after the Cineworld chain had reopened 561 of its sites around the world. (Reuters)
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Updated 24 September 2020

Cineworld may need more money if doors close again

  • Cinema operator fears renewed virus restrictions as studios delay major releases

LONDON: Cineworld said on Thursday it might need to raise more money if it is required to shut its theaters again following fresh pandemic curbs, as the world’s second-biggest cinema operator swung to a first-half loss, sending its shares down 17 percent.

The British company, for which the US is the largest market, said it was in talks with lenders to avoid an impending loan default, and flagged risks to its ability to continue as a “going concern” as studios delay major releases and people stay away from theaters.

“If governments were to strengthen restrictions on social gathering, which may therefore oblige us to close our estate again or further push back movie releases, it would have a negative impact on our financial performance and likely require the need to raise additional liquidity,” the company said.

Cineworld shares were down 17.5 percent at 42.3 pence in early trade.

New curbs could be a major setback after the cinema chain reopened 561 of its 778 sites. It had highlighted the strong performance of Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” earlier this month, and had said it was looking forward to other big movie releases.

But Walt Disney on Wednesday postponed the release of superhero movie “Black Widow” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” until 2021 in another setback to cinema operators. “Mulan” also skipped most theaters and went directly to Disney’s streaming platform.

The world’s largest cinema chain, AMC, and Comcast Corp’s Universal Pictures agreed in July that the studio’s movies would be made available to US audiences at home after just three weekends in cinemas.

Cineworld Chief Executive Officer Mooky Greidinger, however, said his company would follow the usual route.

“Our policy regarding the theatrical window remains unchanged as an important part of our business model, and we will continue to only show movies that respect it,” he said in a statement.

The cinema operator posted a pretax loss of $1.64 billion for the six months ended June 30, from a profit of $139.7 million last year as its cinemas were shut from mid-March until August. 


Researchers say new model shows Turkish inflation well above official tally

Updated 51 min 37 sec ago

Researchers say new model shows Turkish inflation well above official tally

  • Since last year, opposition lawmakers have raised questions about the accuracy of official inflation data
  • Year-on-year inflation was 11.75% according to the official tally announced earlier this month

ISTANBUL: Turkish monthly inflation was more than triple the official rate in September, according to a new model developed by a group of academics and researchers based on more frequent data than the government statistics office.
Veysel Ulusoy, a professor at an Istanbul-based university and head of the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG), said the model collects “several times more” price data than the official Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) tally, and is meant to complement it.
Since last year, opposition lawmakers have raised questions about the accuracy of official inflation data, arguing that the published rate was lower than the market realities.
According to ENAG’s first published finding, consumer prices in September rose 3.61% from the previous month, compared to TUIK’s calculation of 0.97% increase.
Year-on-year inflation was 11.75% according to the official tally announced earlier this month. ENAG has not yet published a year-on-year figure.
TUIK was not immediately available for comment.
“We observed price differences and volatility in almost all groups in the basket,” Ulusoy said in an interview. ENAG brings together academics from multiple Turkish universities.
“TUIK collects 550,000 prices for all the basket items in a month. ENAG calculations include several times more than that, constructing a richer set of data,” Ulusoy said.
Turkish annual inflation has remained in double digits this year despite a sharp economic contraction in the second quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic. High prices and a record low lira prompted the central bank to raise interest rates last month, and it is expected to hike again on Thursday.
The ENAG model can calculate inflation as frequently as every hour, meaning it can fill gaps for researchers and investors, Ulusoy said. It weighs items in the same way as TUIK, but excludes price data from health, education spending and alcoholic drinks.
The September calculation showed that school-related items had the most price spikes including computers, tablets and mobile phones, as well as children’s’ clothing and some agricultural goods.
Ulusoy said the ENAG model showed that tablets and computer prices were up more than 30% in September from August due to school reopenings, while TUIK put these items at around 4% month-on-month.
Last year opposition parties submitted parliamentary questions to Finance Minister Berat Albayrak over claims that TUIK tweaked inflation data for political reasons, claims dismissed as groundless by the head of the institute.