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Cineworld hit with shareholder revolt over £208m share scheme

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·3-min read
Cineworld closed its cinemas in the UK and the US indefinitely in October 2020. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters
Cineworld closed its cinemas in the UK and the US indefinitely in October 2020. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Almost a third of Cineworld (CINE.L) shareholders rebelled against plans to pay the company’s bosses share-based awards worth up to £208m ($283m).

At a shareholder meeting on Monday, 30% of investors voted against the cinema chain’s long-term incentive plan, which could give Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld’s chief executive, and his brother Israel Greidinger up to £65m each.

However, some 69.25% of investors greenlighted the company’s new remuneration policy, with 30.75% voting against.

Executives at Britain’s largest cinema chain, which also owns Picturehouse and Regal, could be in line for a share of between £104m and £208m, if the share price reaches 190p, close to pre-pandemic levels, over the next three years.

The scheme required 50% shareholder support. It said the board would continue to “engage with shareholders on remuneration matters in the coming months in light of the feedback received during our consultation.”

Cineworld shares rose 1.45% on Monday
Cineworld shares rose 1.45% on Monday

Alicja Kornasiewicz, chair of Cineworld, said: “We are pleased that the plan has been supported by a wide range of our shareholders. We carried out an extensive consultation with shareholders before proposing the plan and made amendments to reflect their feedback.”

Cineworld closed its cinemas in the UK and the US indefinitely in October 2020. Thousands of Cineworld staff in Britain are currently on furlough as all 127 of its UK sites remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The industry had been rattled by a number of blockbuster film delays, such as Marvel’s Black Widow and the latest James Bond film No Time To Die.

The 25th Bond film was initially due to be released in cinemas in April 2020 but was then pushed back until November. Beverly Hills-based MGM, the Hollywood studio behind James Bond, has now pushed the film back for a third time from April to October 2021.

The film, which cost $250m (£191m) to produce, was forecast to gross more than $1bn worldwide.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: UK government 'opening door' to more business insolvencies

Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan also dealt a major blow to Cineworld last year after releasing the film on its streaming service instead of in cinemas.

The film debuted in September at a cost of $29.99 per customer, and only played in theatres in countries that did not have launch plans for Disney+.

The UK Cinema Association, the body representing British cinemas, had called the move “hugely disappointing”, as cinemas continued to battle declining numbers due to the health crisis.

In November, Cineworld revealed that it had secured waivers for its debt covenants until June 2022 and $450m in new loans to weather the COVID-19 storm.

The company said the move will provide the group with “financial and operational flexibility until lockdown restrictions in key jurisdictions are eased and studios are able to bring their enhanced pipeline of major releases back to the big screen”.

It will also issue equity warrants worth around 11% of its share capital, adding that its debt measures have given the company over $750m of extra liquidity and reduced monthly cash spend to around $60m.

Cineworld also extended the maturity of its $111m incremental revolving credit facility from Dec. 2020 to May 2024.

WATCH: James Bond ‘No Time to Die’ delayed again