Cineworld plans to reopen cinemas as it secures safety net finance

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Cinema chain Cineworld is planning to start showing films in all its cinemas in July, as Britain emerges from lockdown and it secures millions of pounds in loans.

Bosses said that its cinemas up and down the country would open when restrictions are lifted, and plans to screen the blockbusters Tenet and Mulan.

The company also said it had secured another £90million through increasing the amount it can borrow from its banks via a revolving credit facility.

It has also been approved for an additional potential £37million from the Government-backed Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

Inside the IMAX screen at Cineworld Plymouth

It also expects to commence a process to access US$25m through the US government CARES Act.

A statement to investors said: “Cineworld expects that this additional liquidity, to the extent required, will provide it with sufficient headroom to support the Group even in the unlikely event cinemas remain closed until the end of the year.”

The company’s shares rose by 25% after the news.

“Cineworld currently anticipates that Government restrictions related to cinemas will be lifted in each of its territories by July. Subject to this and confirmation of the schedule for film releases, Cineworld anticipates the reopening of all of its cinemas in July,” the cinema giant said in its statement to the stock exchange.

“Cineworld has put in place procedures to ensure a safe and enjoyable cinema experience for its employees and customers.”

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It promised to be “the best place to watch a movie” even as social distancing measures are likely to change the experience of going to the cinema.

In Berlin, one theatre has ripped out many of its seats to ensure distance between members of the audience. Others have installed plastic screens between seats.

Bosses at the cinema chain said: “Cineworld is excited by the great movie line-up to follow the reopening of cinemas, starting with the highly anticipated new Chris Nolan movie Tenet and immediately after that with Mulan, a new Disney adventure movie.

“Cineworld, as always, greatly believes in the theatrical experience and is fully committed to be the best place to watch a movie.”

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In April, Bosses at the multiplex chain deferred their pay packets for the past year after the company was forced to shut its entire portfolio of 787 cinemas.

The world’s second largest cinema operator also said it was suspending payment of its proposed dividend for the fourth quarter, to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Staff made redundant before the Government announced its Job Retention Scheme were told they could choose to be “furloughed” and receive 80% of their pay.

Cineworld said the Government-mandated closure of cinemas has been “extremely challenging”.

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