Bleeding cash, Cineworld boss says no choice but to shut sites

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a Cineworld in Leicester's Square, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London, Britain, October 4, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - The chief executive of Cineworld CINE.L said he had no choice but to close UK and U.S. sites because the cinema chain was bleeding too much cash to keep them open.

“We had reached the stage where we had no alternative, it was a very, very difficult decision for us, mainly in view of the move we will have to take towards the employees,” CEO Mooky Greidinger told Sky News on Monday.

“From a liquidity point of view, we were bleeding much bigger amounts when we are open than when we were closed.”

The world’s second-biggest cinema chain said the reluctance of studios to push ahead with major releases such as the new James Bond film had left it no choice but to close all 536 Regal theatres in the U.S. and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK from Oct. 8.

Greidinger said the tough decision was designed to secure the long-term future of the company.

“Our responsibility as management is really to see what is the best way for the company to come through,” he said.

“We will get the liquidity that we need, we have the full support from the banks that are working with us, a lot of funds. But we need to be careful and act in a responsible way.

“We are strengthening, with this move, the position of the company.”

Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by Sarah Young