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Doubt over future of Cambs cinemas with reports of Cineworld closures and rent cuts

Cineworld sign Picture: PA (43199670)
Cineworld sign Picture: PA (43199670)

Cineworld is reportedly considering cutting rents and permanently closing some UK cinemas after its revenues were hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares in the company slid lower on Thursday (November 19) morning after the Financial Times reported that the chain was mulling a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) restructuring deal.

It is understood that the CVA is one of a number of options currently on the table.

Cineworld operates cinemas in Ely, St Neots and Huntingdon, and also owns the Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge as part of its Picturehouse chain.

It appointed advisers from restructuring specialists AlixPartners last month to engage in emergency talks with its lenders, as it expects to breach loan covenants in December.

The company is currently in negotiations with landlords regarding rent on its 127 sites and could use a CVA to seal lower payments across its estate.

Cineworld declined to comment on the reports.

Last month, the chain put thousands of jobs at risk as it shut all of its UK and US cinemas indefinitely after the release of the latest James Bond film was pushed back to 2021.

The group, which also owns the Regal chain in the US, employs around 45,000 staff, including 5,500 in the UK.

On Thursday, the owner of London’s Trocadero Centre lodged a High Court claim against Cineworld, suing it for £1.4million over unpaid bills.

Shares in Cineworld were down 8.7 per cent at 44.2p in early trading on Thursday.

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