3rd June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 3 (AFP) - Shares in troubled theme park operator Euro Disney SCA plunged to an all-time low of EUR 0.31 Thursday as next Tuesday's deadline looms for an outline agreement on a restructuring of the company's EUR 2.2 billion (USD 2.7 billion) debt, dealers said.

PARIS, June 3 (AFP) - Shares in troubled theme park operator Euro Disney SCA plunged to an all-time low of EUR 0.31 Thursday as next Tuesday's deadline looms for an outline agreement on a restructuring of the company's EUR 2.2 billion (USD 2.7 billion) debt, dealers said.

Euro Disney shares at mid-day were down 2.94 percent at EUR 0.33 after slumping to EUR 0.31 in early deals. The CAC-40 index was down 0.43 percent at 3,630.60.

The shares have more than halved from a 12-month high point of EUR 0.76 in October, before Euro Disney debt payments were suspended in November.

Euro Disney shares traded as high as EUR 10.25 in 1992, the year that one of its two theme partks near here, Disneyland Paris, opened.

"It is the debt problem which is guiding the development of Euro Disney's share price," said an analyst who asked not to be named.

"Restructuring is under negotiation and even finalisation. But we don't hope for too much of a miracle," the analyst said.

Euro Disney says its resort east of Paris is Europe's leading tourist destination with 12.4 million visitors last year. But it needs still more visitors to put its finances on a sound footing.

"There seems to be progress and efforts have been made but the debt is not the only problem," said Virginie Blin of Fideuram Wargny.

"There is a real problem with attendances," Blin said, noting that more people through the turnstiles would also lead to greater revenues for associated products such as food.

"The entry price alone does not ensure sufficient profitability for the company, but at the same time it remains high for many families," she said.

The deadline for a debt restructuring deal was initially set at March 31 and then put back to May 31 before a second delay last week.

After failing to reach an agreement in seven months of talks, Euro Disney now has only until June 8 to finalise a memorandum of understanding with its key lenders and with core shareholder Walt Disney Company.

If an accord can be achieved by that date, Euro Disney has until the end of June to win final approval from all lenders.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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