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World's biggest cinema chain AMC doubts it can go on

New York

AMC Entertainment Holdings, the world's biggest movie theatre operator, signalled "substantial doubts" about its ability to continue operating, if it was forced to keep its cinemas closed for a longer period because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has shuttered movie theatres worldwide since mid-March.

"We cannot predict when or if our business will return to normal levels," AMC, which is controlled by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

AMC said it had begun a ramp-up in cash spending as it aims for a summer reopen but may not have sufficient liquidity to tide over until its cash-generating operations are back to normal.

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The company had a cash balance of US$718.3 million as of April 30, and has said it had enough liquidity to sustain the closures till the end of July.

However, the company raised fears that even after theatres reopen it may not have enough films to show and attendance will be further impacted as people may switch over to other forms of entertainment or be wary of health risks. It said it expected to report a loss of between US$2.12 billion to US$2.42 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, largely due to an impairment charge of about US$2 billion.

AMC is the biggest movie theatre chain in the US and Europe with about 1,000 cinemas and 11,000 screens across the globe, according to its website.

It was forced to close all of its approximately 600 US locations in March after public officials placed limits on public gatherings to prevent the spread of the virus. REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

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