No one was expecting AMC Entertainment Holding's (AMC 10.16%) fourth-quarter earnings to be good, but they could have been a lot worse -- and the theater operator says it's ready for the coming recovery.
A year after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, AMC now has 90% of its 589 domestic theaters operational after New York City and certain California cities finally finally allowed consumers to return to the movies.
The theater owner said it generated $162.5 million in revenue in the quarter, better than the $142.3 million Wall Street anticipated, as 8 million moviegoers visited an AMC theater. Losses were also narrower than expected with AMC posting a $3.15 per share loss compared to the $3.24 per share loss analysts forecast.
CEO Adam Aron highlighted the actions the company took to survive the crisis, including:
- Raising approximately $2.2 billion in new debt and equity capital
- Securing more than $1 billion in concessions from creditors and landlords
- Raising more than $80 million from asset sales
- Converting $600 million of worth of debt to equity
"We look forward to returning to an environment of unfettered movie theatre access for our guests," Aron said in a statement, but just as important may be the return of new, big-budget movies to the big screen.
AMC was the only major national theater chain showing Walt Disney's animated Raya and the Last Dragon last weekend after Cinemark Holdings refused to run it, presumably to protest the film being simultaneously released to the Disney+ streaming service. Cineworld Group, the owner of Regal theaters, is keeping its theaters closed.
At the end of the fourth quarter, AMC had just 394 theaters open, or 67%, operating at just 20% to 40% capacity. Only 30% of its international theaters were operational then.