Loews Cineplex warns of weakness after delays filing earnings report

Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp., the operator of Cineplex Odeon Canada, says it's delaying by about five days the release of third quarter results which show operating and net incomes will be "significantly reduced".

The New York-based company, which runs 2,960 screens mostly in the US and Canada, is the second largest movie theatre operator in the US. It filed a notice of late filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday.

Loews says revenues for the three- and nine-month periods ending Nov. 30 dropped about 8.2 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively, from a year earlier. It blames the "significant decline" in theatre attendance.

The notice adds Loews needs more time to file "in order to reflect recent developments relating to our ongoing efforts to restructure our capital structure and address our long-term liquidity needs."

Like many of its competitors, Loews recently built a number of megaplexes across the US and Canada. And also like many of its competitors, the overbuilding has taken a toll on its financial stability.

"We are continuing negotiations with our bank group and bondholders to implement a long-term financial restructuring of the company's indebtedness," said the company.

Last Friday, the Globe and Mail reported Loews was working with GE Capital Corp. to prepare financing in the event of a bankruptcy protection filing.

On Tuesday, the National Post said several businesses were looking into buying many of Loews' Canadian theatres.

And last week, an American newspaper reported Loews planed to shut 20 per cent of its Chicago-area theatres.