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Topic: Saudi investor seeks talks over Euro Disney's debt< Next Oldest | Next Newest >

RichKoster Offline


Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Posts: 5119
Joined: Aug. 2001
Posted: Aug. 04, 2003 6:28 am/pm Quote


Saudi investor seeks talks over Euro Disney's debt

Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, the Saudi investor who is the second largest shareholder in Euro Disney, is seeking management talks over a refinancing plan for the debt-burdened theme park.

Kingdom Holding Company, the prince's investment vehicle, is concerned at Euro Disney's admission last week that faltering demand could jeopardise a ?167.7m credit repayment to Walt Disney, due in June 2004, and threaten its banking covenants.

The prince, who has already reduced his Euro Disney stake from 24.7 to 16.3 per cent, is expected to seek assurances from the Walt Disney Company over its continued support. The US media and entertainment group owns 39.1 per cent of the Paris-based theme park operator.

"We need to meet with the management and see their business plan and understand the position of Walt Disney," said a spokesman for the prince. "They have to restructure with the banks."

Prince Alwaleed is expected to meet André Lacroix, Euro Disney's new chief executive, and Jeffrey Speed, its recently appointed chief financial officer, later this month or early in September. Mr Speed was appointed following the abrupt departure earlier this year of Serge Naïm as chief financial officer. Euro Disney yesterday said Mr Naïm had left "to pursue other career opportunities".

The new chief financial officer, formerly vice-president of corporate finance and assistant treasurer at Walt Disney, has initiated talks with Euro Disney's creditor banks and its main shareholder to secure waivers of bank covenants or additional financing. Failure to agree a deal could force Euro Disney to breach covenants on ?1.7bn of debt.

The company, which owns Disneyland Paris, has already refinanced some of its debt obligations to help pay for last year's opening of Walt Disney Studios, its second theme park.

In spite of the new opening, volatile demand contributed to a 7 per cent fall in total revenues to ?275.6m for the three months to June 30. The company declined to comment.

RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator
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