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Cineworld appoints City advisers to review US$8bn debt pile

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Cineworld Group PLC (LON:CINE) has appointed consulting firm AlixPartners to review and potentially restructure its US$8bn debt pile.

Last week, the cinema operator’s lenders appointed FTI Consulting and Houlihan Lokey to lead negotiations, Sky News reported.

READ: Cineworld refinancing seems inevitable but is it time to die for cinemas?

The FTSE 250 company confirmed earlier this month that it was “temporarily suspending” its cinemas on both sides of the Atlantic, 127 cinemas under the Cineworld and Picturehouse chains in the UK and 536 Regal movie theatres in the US after the latest Bond movie release was postponed to next year.

Cineworld was ridden with debt even before the pandemic struck, with borrowings of US$4.2bn and lease liabilities of US$4.3bn, thanks mainly to two large leveraged acquisitions in recent years.

Once the cinemas are mothballed and staff are unceremoniously ushered out of the emergency exit, the firm, which had cash balances of US$285mln at the half-year stage, is expected to burn through around US$200mln of cash in the second half of 2020, according to Peel Hunt.

It would churn a further US$250m if the cinemas remain hibernated for the first half of 2021.

Shares shed 7% to 30.13p on Thursday afternoon, having plummeted 86% in the year to date.

RELX forecasts hefty loss for exhibitions arm in 2020

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