Business

Cineworld 'to file for bankruptcy within weeks' - report

Cineworld's new Belfast outlet, which opened in December 2021.
Cineworld's new Belfast outlet, which opened in December 2021. Cineworld's new Belfast outlet, which opened in December 2021.

THE owner of the new cinema at Belfast's Odyssey complex is to file for bankruptcy "within weeks", according to reports.

Cineworld shares dived by two-thirds within minutes of reports by the Wall Street Journal that the world's second biggest cinema business has hired lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis and consultants from AlixPartners to advise the bankruptcy process.

Cineworld has declined to comment.

It comes two days after Cineworld said it is assessing options to shore up its finances after it blamed a "limited" film slate for weak audience numbers in recent months.

The company, which also owns the Picturehouse chain in the UK and Regal Cinemas in the US, had pinned its hopes on releases such as Top Gun: Maverick, The Batman and Thor: Love And Thunder to aid its recovery from the heavy impact of the pandemic.

However, it told the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday: "Despite a gradual recovery of demand since reopening in April 2021, recent admission levels have been below expectations.

"These lower levels of admissions are due to a limited film slate that is anticipated to continue until November 2022 and are expected to negatively impact trading and the group's liquidity position in the near term."

The business, which was saddled with 4.8 billion dollars (£4 billion) of debt at the end of the last financial year, said it was considering restructuring its balance sheet to protect its future.