Despite numerous rounds of dilution AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE:AMC) investors have already endured over the past year to keep the company afloat, CEO Adam Aron told CNBC's Jim Cramer he wants shareholders to approve yet another tranche of stock being issued so the movie theater chain can capitalize on its still elevated stock price.
Aron said he doesn't dismiss concerns about dilution, but by issuing 500 million more shares of AMC stock, "there's an opportunity to bolster our cash reserves and there's an opportunity to buy back debt at a discount or pay deferred theatre rents." "There are a lot of good reasons for shareholders to give us the authority," he added.
The market doesn't seem to agree -- shares were falling 5% in morning trading.
Aron told Cramer AMC was close to bankruptcy five different times over the past year, but with business getting back to normal, now was not the time to let up.
The theater operator raised approximately $2.2 billion in new debt and equity capital, received over $1 billion in concessions from theater owners and landlords, sold over $80 million in assets, and was able to convert $600 million worth of debt into equity. It ended the year with $1 billion in cash.
AMC stock had been trading around $2 per share over concerns the pandemic lockdowns would cause the theater operator to go bankrupt, but a rally started by Reddit users reacting to short-sellers betting heavily against the stock caused shares to soar. In the space of two weeks AMC stock soared to over $20 a share, though it's since tumbled by half after the ardor of the rally wore off.
Yet with shares still up over 380% in 2021, AMC isn't necessarily wrong to try to add to its cash hoard, though it does mean current shareholders will be further diluted.