AMC rival Cineworld eyes a US stock-market listing as it grapples with COVID-hit finances

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  • UK-based Cineworld is considering a US stock market listing to help its finances recover from the impact of the pandemic.
  • The movie-theater operator booked net debt of $8.44 billion and a pretax loss of $576.4 million in the first half.
  • Rival AMC’s meme stock has skyrocketed in the US, pushed higher by retail investors.
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UK-based Cineworld, the second-biggest movie-theater operator in the world, is considering a listing on the US stock market as it looks to repair the COVID hit to its finances.

The company is looking into listing all or part of its businesses, CEO Mooky Greidinger said in a first-half financial update Thursday. The partial listing would be for its Regal Cinema subsidiary in the US, which now provides a big chunk of Cineworld’s revenue after being acquired in 2018.

“US equity capital markets are the largest and most liquid in the world and include a large number of publicly listed cinema companies, including peer group companies,” Greidinger said in a statement. “These companies are typically covered by a significant number of North American equity analysts with a wide domestic investor following.”

Cineworld reported net debt of $8.4 billion in the year to June 30, and available cash of $436.5 million. Its pretax loss for the first half stood at $576.4 million. The movie-chain company’s finances have suffered under the impact of lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions.

The company’s London-listed stock closed about 4.3% higher in London Thursday, after the release of its report.

On Tuesday, rival movie-chain operator AMC Entertainment saw its stock rise as much as 10% after booking a smaller second-quarter loss than expected. The US company’s shares have skyrocketed after becoming a meme stock favorite of retail investors on Reddit. Its stock is up almost 1,600% in 2021 so far.

“Unlike its peer in the US, AMC Entertainment, who reported earlier this week, Cineworld doesn’t have the Reddit crew watching its back, while its finances remain in a similarly precarious state, and the stop-start nature of its UK reopening won’t have helped, although its US operations should have done better if AMC’s numbers are any guide,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, in a note.

Cineworld runs 789 movie-theater sites in North America, including the US.