Major cinema chain with 100 branches 'to close dozens of sites' (2024)

A MAJOR cinema chain is in talks to close dozens of sites under new plans to shore up its finances.

Cineworld is considering shutting down around a quarter of its approximately 100 UK multiplexes, Sky News reports.

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Up to 25 local cinemas could close permanently under the plans.

The chain is also seeking to renegotiate rent agreements for around 50 of its locations.

Struggling businesses often do this to help lower their operating costs and help retain more of their brick-and-mortar estate.

However, landlords don't need to accept what's put forward in these discussions.

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This means that up to 50 additional Cineworld complexes could also be at risk of closure if the chain and its landlords cannot reach an agreement.

However, 25 cinemas will be left unaffected by the restructuring plans and will remain open for the foreseeable.

FINAL DECISION TO COME

The Sun understands that Cineworld's creditors and landlords will formally receive the plans in the coming weeks.

A creditor is an individual, business, or financial institution to whom the company owes money or is obligated to repay a debt.

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The restructuring is expected to be carried out through a specific insolvency mechanism rather than a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

Insolvency mechanisms aim to either rescue the company, liquidate it, or achieve the best return for creditors.

Major cinema chain with 100 branches ‘to close dozens of sites’ in major blow to high street

A CVA specifically aims to allow the company to continue trading while repaying its debts over time.

As of July 2024, the cinema chain operates out of100 Cineworld branded screens across the UK and Ireland as well as a further 28 under the Picturehouse brand.

For now, the chain's screens remain fully operational and open as usual.

A Cineworld spokesperson said: "We continue to review our options, but we don't comment on rumours and speculation."

What is happening across hospitality and the cinema sector?

CINEWORLD isn't the only chain that's struggling.

Odeon confirmed it would close fiveof its branches in May last year.

Empire Cinema also closed multiple sitesin 2023 after falling into administration in July of the same year.

The company made the decision following "a thorough assessment of all available options".

The hospitality sector has been struggling too.

In April, family favourite restaurant chain Whitbread revealed it was set toshutter more than 200 locations and axe 1,500 jobs.

It shared the plans in its full year results, saying it planned to convert 112 restaurants into hotel extensions, while closing 126 "loss-making" venues.

Pub giant Wetherspoons has been closing boozers across the UK too, andByron Burger fell into administrationlast year.

In March, pizza giantPapa Johns saidit would close dozens of locations.

What else has happened at Cineworld?

Earlier this month, Cineworldwas said to be weighing up its options and considering a major restructuring, which could includeclosures.

SkyNewsreported the chain was working with restructuring adviser AlixPartners on a plan that could lead to asaleor restructuring.

According to the broadcaster, such a move could "put an unspecified number of its UK cinemas at risk of closure".

A restructuring plan allows a company to rework its balance sheet, restructuring debts and releasing cash into the business.

At the time of the report, a spokesperson for Cineworld said it was "continually reviewing" its UK operations "like many businesses".

It came afterCineworld emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcyin theUSlate last year.

Filing for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy means a company intends to reorganise its debts and assets while remaining inbusiness.

At the time, thefutureof the chain's129 UK and Irish cinemas appeared to be in danger.

The company's shares plunged almost 99% in the five years to 2023, as it was hit particularly hard by thepandemicand the enforced closure of its cinema sites.

Shortly after, Cineworld's UK arm collapsed into administration on July 31.

The cinema chain was delisted from the London Stock Exchange a day later.

When a companyenters administrationin the UK, all control is passed to an appointed administrator, who must be a licensed insolvency practitioner.

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Since then appointed administrators at Alix Partners have been assessing plans for a major restructure.

The business has posted significant losses as its come under pressure from platforms offering streaming services, such asNetflixandAmazon Prime.

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Major cinema chain with 100 branches 'to close dozens of sites' (2024)
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