Debt deadline woes at France's Euro Disney

26th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 26 (AFP) - No deadline has yet been set for Prince al-Waleed bin Talal and other shareholders in the Euro Disney theme park near Paris to make a decision on the company's debt restructuring plan, spokesman Peter Boterman said on Monday.

PARIS, July 26 (AFP) - No deadline has yet been set for Prince al-Waleed bin Talal and other shareholders in the Euro Disney theme park near Paris to make a decision on the company's debt restructuring plan, spokesman Peter Boterman said on Monday.

This Saturday, July 31, is the deadline for the company's creditor banks to make up their minds on proposals for revamping Euro Disney's debt of EUR 2.4 billion (USD 2.9 billion dollars) and on a plan for a capital increase of EUR 250 million.

Boterman said "I wouldn't say there is no urgency" for Prince al-Waleed to give his view, but he pointed out that the prince did not have to give his view by July 31.

The first hurdle for the restructuring plan was to win backing from creditors and only then would a timetable be set for shareholder approval, he said.

Boterman could not say when Euro Disney might make a statement about the progress of the debt proposals or when the company might issue its sales figures for the third quarter to June, although analysts expect them this week.

In mid-morning trading, the price of shares in Euro Disney was showing a fall of EUR 0.01 or 3.03 percent to EUR 0.32 amid investor anxiety about the debt restructuring and the sales figures, dealers said.

The company, which attracted 12.4 million visitors to its Disney theme park east of Paris last year, suspended debt payments to core shareholder The Walt Disney Co in November and has said it cannot repay its overall debts unless shareholders back the refinancing plan.

At French brokers Fideuram Wargny, analysts estimate that Euro Disney sales for the nine months to June will be flat at EUR 749 million, with revenues from the theme parks showing a gain of 5.4 percent and turnover at its hotels down 4.3 percent to EUR 294 million.

The EUR 250 million capital increase project has been backed by The Walt Disney Co, which will put up EUR 100 million in proportion to its 39.1-percent interest.

Leading creditor Caisse des Depots et Consignations, CDC a quasi-state French investment group, is to provide another EUR 75 million and other banks the remainder, according to reports.

Prince al-Waleed rescued Euro Disney from an earlier financial crisis in1994 by taking a major stake.

However, the Saudi Arabian prince reduced his holding to 16.3 percent from 24.7 percent last year. His staff have said he was willing to talk about the latest debt problems, but have given no details of his attitude towards the plan.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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