Turnover woe for Euro Disney

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The Independent Online
EURO Disney's turnover slid in the six months to the end of March, dropping 12 per cent to Fr1.57bn ( pounds 185m) and adding urgency to the troubled Paris theme park's refinancing of its Fr20bn debt.

The park admitted that not all of its bankers had agreed to its proposals. So far bankers representing 90 per cent of its debts have signed a memorandum of agreement on the restructuring. Euro Disney says a sufficient number have also agreed to underwrite more than half - Fr3bn - of the proposed offering. The company said it hoped to call an extraordinary meeting shortly to approve the deal.

The restructuring includes a Fr6bn rights issue in early summer. About 51 per cent of the issue would be underwritten by the banks, with the remainder being guaranteed by the giant Walt Disney corporation of the US, which owns 49 per cent of the company. In addition the plan includes interest payment forgiveness, and deferral of principal payments.

In a recent innovation, Euro Disney is also planning to offer all shareholders, including Walt Disney, 10-year warrants to purchase shares at Fr40.

Despite the slide in turnover the first-half operating loss was cut from Fr1.18bn to Fr1bn after a 25 per cent reduction in costs and lower interest rates.

The net loss fell much more dramatically, from Fr4.2bn to Fr1bn, because of a change in accounting for start up costs, which meant a special one-off Fr3.2bn charge the previous year. The share price slipped 15p to 363p.

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