- Cinema group Cineworld swung to a first-half loss after shutting its cinemas amid global government lockdowns to curb Covid-19.

The company said that performance had improved since reopening its cinemas, though forecast a breach of its debt agreements and warned further government restrictions could push back movie releases, or shut down again. This would hurt its financial performance and force it to raise capital to stay afloat, it added.

Cineworld estimated that it should be able to operate for at least 12 months, but forecast the covenants in December 2020, and in June and December 2021. The company, however, expected that waivers would be obtained.

For the 6 month period ended 30 June 2020, the company reported a pre-tax loss of $1.6 billion, compared with a profit of $117.4 million year-on-year as revenue fell 66.9% to $712 million.

Performance was hurt by global coronavirus lockdowns that forced it to shutter its cinemas between mid-March to late June/August 2020.

Admissions were 65.1% lower compared to the same period in 2019, the company said.

Cineworld said 561 of its 778 sites had reopened, but 200 theatres in the US, 6 in the UK and 11 in Israel remained closed.

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