Euro Disney launches EUR 253m capital increase

21st January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 21 (AFP) - Euro Disney, the financially stressed operator of a theme complex east of Paris, said Friday it had launched a capital hike of EUR 253 million (USD 328 million), the final stage in its financial restructuring.

PARIS, Jan 21 (AFP) - Euro Disney, the financially stressed operator of a theme complex east of Paris, said Friday it had launched a capital hike of EUR 253 million (USD 328 million), the final stage in its financial restructuring.

Preferential subscription rights were being offered to existing shareholders at a price of EUR 0.09 per share, the company said in a statement.

The subscription period is to start on January 31 and run till February 8, the company said.

Walt Disney Company, the group's US parent, had pledged to buy 1.11 billion new shares, and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, another core shareholder, is down for 217.3 million.

Euro Disney said the operation "constitutes the final step in its financial restructuring", the statement said.

On December 17, shareholders approved a capital increase of 98 percent to help pay down debt of EUR 2.4 billion.

Euro Disney shares plunged by 7.69 percent to EUR 0.24 in early trades on the Paris stock exchange, where the CAC 40 index of leading shares was off 0.20 percent overall.

The group announced on January 11 that sales had risen by three percent to EUR 268.9 million (USD 348 million) in the first quarter of its 2004-2005 fiscal year.

Euro Disney chairman Andre Lacroix had described the results as a "good performance" considering that "the European school vacation calendar was not favourable this year."

On Friday, the company said, "The capital increase is designed to provide liquidity, protection from business volatility and capital to maintain its existing asset base and add new attractions."

In the fiscal year 2006, Euro Disney plans to open an interactive attraction at its Disneyland park called Buzz Lightyear's Laser Blast, which depicts a struggle to defend the universe against an evil emperor.

The next fiscal year should see the opening of Toon Studios at the Walt Disney Studios Park followed by the arrival in 2008 at the same venue of Tower of Terror, described by Euro Disney as "a white-knuckle journey into a mysterious new dimension."

© AFP

Subject: French News

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