Cineworld Manchester branches could be at risk amid fears it will file for bankruptcy

The chain has four cinemas in Manchester.

Cineworld Group is set to file for bankruptcy, according to reports in business media today.

The conglomerate is headquartered in London with 128 cinemas in the UK and Ireland and 751 in total around the globe.

It is the second-largest cinema chain after AMC Theatres and runs other brands including Picture House and Regal cinemas.

The Wall Street Journal says today Cineworld Group is preparing to file for bankruptcy as it struggles to rebuild attendance from pandemic lows, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange as CINE.

What does bankruptcy mean?

Company Debt explains it as: “When a company goes bankrupt, it means there is either no cash to pay bills, or more liabilities than assets.”

How have share prices reacted?

Cineworld Group’s shares plunged 79% to just £2 a share on the LSE, as of 1.50pm on Friday (19 August).

Shares had already fallen this week by more than 60 % on Wednesday after the chain warned its audience numbers have been weaker than expected amid limited film releases.

Shares dived by two-thirds within minutes of reports by the Wall Street Journal that the world’s second biggest cinema business has hired lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis and consultants from AlixPartners to advise the bankruptcy process.

Cineworld has declined to comment.

Why is the Cineworld Group struggling?

Earlier this week, Cineworld had warned audience numbers have been weaker than expected and predicted they will stay low until November due to “limited” film releases.

In a statement the firm said: “Despite a gradual recovery of demand since reopening in April 2021, recent admission levels have been below expectations.

“These lower levels of admissions are due to a limited film slate that is anticipated to continue until November 2022 and are expected to negatively impact trading and the group’s liquidity position in the near term.”

Where are the Cineworld cinemas in Greater Manchester?

Cineworld currently has branches in Didsbury, Bolton, Ashton-under-Lyne and Leigh. It has not been stated if all branches will close if the firm does enter bankruptcy.

In October 2020, it temporarily shut down branches during the pandemic as it faced cost challenges when the new James Bond release was delayed.