Cineworld’s story has shareholders watching through their hands | Nils Pratley

One can’t call it a major twist in the plot in the disaster movie for investors that is Cineworld, owner of 750 cinemas in 10 countries. A possible “comprehensive deleveraging transaction” – in other words, a hefty whack for shareholders – has been a threat ever since Covid arrived.

Even pre-pandemic, the company was up to its neck in debt, having been run as an acquisition machine by chief executive Mooky Greidinger, who controls a fifth of the shares with his family. At the last count at the end of 2021, the debt figure was $4.8bn (£4bn), ignoring lease liabilities, which is one hell of a sum when revenues for the year were only $1.8bn.

One can, though, grumble about the narration from the boardroom. As recently as March, Greidinger was whistling cheerfully about how…

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