Revenues at Euro Disney tumble

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The Independent Online
EURO DISNEY'S position continues to worsen despite the troubled Paris theme park's attempts to stem the slide.

Third-quarter revenues shrank by more than a fifth to Fr1.2bn, ( pounds 146m) and most analysts expect it to make a small trading loss in the fourth quarter, its peak period.

The company blamed its trading problems on uncertainty surrounding its future which had impeded its marketing efforts, as well as its new discounting strategy.

The net loss before exceptional charges nevertheless improved by 49 per cent to Fr194m, thanks to cost-cutting - staff have been reduced from 18,000 to 16,000 in the past year - and its recent financial restructuring. Lease expenses dropped by half because of interest waivers by the banks and no royalties were paid to Walt Disney, which has 49 per cent of Euro Disney, in the third quarter.

The impression was worsened because of a surprise Fr352m exceptional charge. This was primarily costs associated with the Fr6bn restructuring and rights issue, but also included losses on swaps.

The company said details of the outcome of its rights issue would not be reported until the middle of August. The Saudi prince, Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz, has agreed to buy up to 24 per cent of the capital for Fr2.4bn.

Meanwhile, Walt Disney reported profits of dollars 268m (dollars 259m) for its third quarter to 30 June. Lower theme park revenue and a dollars 52m charge relating to Euro Disney was compensated for by an increase in profits from the movie side.

Prince Al-Waleed has bought a stake in the upmarket Fairmont hotel chain in the US for an undisclosed amount.

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