Cineworld issues warning over future after £1.3bn loss

Cineworld raised doubts over its ability to survive a second lockdown as it reported a £1.3bn loss for the first half of the year because of the Covid-19 crisis.

The cinema chain’s pre-tax loss for the six months to June compares with profits of £110m a year earlier and follows the forced closure of its 778 cinemas worldwide earlier this year on the back of the pandemic.

It said admissions have been growing since it reopened sites in the UK and the US in recent weeks, thanks in part to local films and the release of the blockbuster movie Tenet. Cineworld also reported “steady performance” across sites in the rest of the world. It has reopened 561 of its cinemas.

However, the firm said its financial future may be in doubt if authorities introduce further restrictions to combat the next wave of the virus.

“There can be no certainty as to the future impact of Covid-19 on the group,” Cineworld said in a statement. “If governments were to strengthen restrictions on social gathering, which may therefore oblige us to close our estate again or further push back movie releases, it would have a negative impact on our financial performance and likely require the need to raise additional liquidity.”

Cineworld said the pandemic posed challenges for the industry’s recovery that “represent uncertainties with respect to the group’s ability to continue as a going concern”.

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