Paris plan lifts hopes on Euro Disney's empty streets

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The Independent Online
AFTER months of uncertainty, the outline of a deal has emerged that could save Euro Disney, owner of the theme park near Paris that is threatened with closure next month, writes Nicholas Faith.

The terms of a possible peace treaty took shape late last week, after a meeting in Paris on Wednesday between Euro Disney's 63 creditor banks and executives of the theme park's parent, the US-based Walt Disney.

At the meeting, it was agreed that the park needed a further Fr12bn (pounds 1.36bn) to survive. This is in addition to the Fr20.3bn debt already accumulated by the Magic Kingdom theme park and its hotels.

The outline deal would require Disney and the bank syndicate to put up further credits of Fr3bn each, with the banks providing the remaining Fr6bn in the form of equity or convertible loan stock.

The deal has not yet been finalised. Further arguments are expected not only about how much Disney and the banks should put in, but also over the banks' attempts to cut the royalties, commissions and management fees that Disney currently extracts under the park's onerous contract with its parent. A final decision is not expected for at least a fortnight, by when the bankers will have studied the delayed report on Euro Disney's finances from KPMG Peat Marwick, the accountants.

The trading position revealed last week was not healthy. Partly as a result of price cuts designed to attract more visitors, losses for the last three months of 1993 were up 33 per cent.

(Photograph omitted)