Euro Disney visits down, losses jump

17th November 2003, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 17 (AFP) - The Euro Disney theme park near Paris said its turnstiles clicked through 700,000 fewer visitors in 2002-2003 than the previous year with the result that losses leapt by 69.2 percent.

PARIS, Nov 17 (AFP) - The Euro Disney theme park near Paris said its turnstiles clicked through 700,000 fewer visitors in 2002-2003 than the previous year with the result that losses leapt by 69.2 percent.

The group, which had warned in August that it would not be able to meet some debt payments this year and next because of the fall in visits, said that attendance numbers had fallen by 5.3 percent to 12.4 million from 13.1 million a year earlier.

And it reported a loss of EUR 56 million (USD 64.4 million) from a loss of EUR 33.1 million in 2001-2002.

Overall sales fell by 2.1 percent to slightly more than EUR 1 billion.

Euro Disney blamed the combined effects of problems for the overall travel and tourism industries in Europe, strikes in France and a generally weak economic environment.

But group chairman Andre Lacroix said he was confident in the future of the group, noting that it it had begun moves to restructure its debt and obtain a breathing space from creditors.

He also announced that the group would launch a new European marketing strategy adapted to changes in consumers' behaviour.

On November 5 the group announced that creditors had given it breathing space over some forthcoming bond payments to give it time to try to solve its financial problems.

In early afternoon trading, shares in the company were showing a loss 1.89 percent at 0.52 euros while the CAC-40 index of leading French stocks was down 1.93 percent at 3,382.

Fideuram Wargny analyst Virgine Blin said: "Beyond the financial talks, management must propose a convincing operating solution".

"It is imperative that Euro Disney develops its sales so that the company rapidly returns to an adequate cash flow to cover debt repayments," Blin added.

The Euro Disney park was opened east of Paris in 1992 with considerable support from French authorities but was hounded during the start-up period and for some time afterwards by problems arising from application of US business methods and culture in the French and European contexts.

In 1994 Euro Disney had to engineer a rescue, by restructuring its finances and obtaining temporary relief from royalties owed to the parent US company.

The rescue had the financial backing of Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz, who took a 24-percent stake in the company in exchange for his help and has been in talks again recently with Euro Disney.

Groupe Euro Disney also reported on Monday that sales by its property division had slipped in the 2002-2003 financial year.

Sales fell to EUR 23.6 million (USD 27.14 million) from EUR 27.3 million in the previous year, the group reported, saying that the fall had been expected.

Property development sales in 2003 had consisted of sales of land for commercial and residential projects or of contracts to assist with development.

Operating profit from property developmnt had fallen by EUR 1.8 million to EUR 10.3 million, the group said in a statement.

The company also said that it expected overall operating profits by the property development division next year to fall.

Sales would fall because the main development projects for hotels, homes and commercial premises would have been successfully completed.

© AFP


Subject: French news



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