Euro Disney posts qtr. Loss

Another chapter was written in the sorry Euro Disney saga Wednesday, when the theme-park management reported a 553 million francs ($ 93 million) loss for the first quarter of fiscal 1994.

The results came as representatives from Euro Disney’s 60 banks huddled in Paris to hear an initial report on the state of the park’s finances. A full audit by KPMG Peat Marwick, which had been expected to be ready Wednesday, has still to be completed. KPMG would not comment on Wednesday’s talks.

According to the Euro Disney figures, operating revenues for the period Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 slipped to 828 million francs ($ 140 million) from 944 million francs ($ 160 million) in 1992.

Part of the reason for the reduced revenues is that park management has dropped prices in an

effort to attract more visitors. But the results were still disappointing in view of recent efforts to reduce overheads.

Euro Disney, which lost around $ 900 million in fiscal 1993, has a commitment from the Walt Disney Co. to finance day-to-day operations until the end of March , by which time an agreement needs to be reached between the park’s bankers and Walt Disney.

Meanwhile, Euro Disney convertible bondholders threw their hat into the ring Tuesday. A 60-page report, commissioned by the Assn. for the Defense of Minority Shareholders (ADAM), strongly condemned Walt Disney, saying that if Euro Disney is declared bankrupt the bondholders will consider Walt Disney responsible.

The Burbank-based giant has a 49% stake in Euro Disney, but the ADAM report claims that Walt Disney exercises “absolute control” over the park and should take responsibility for the Euro Disney financial mess.

About 4 billion francs ($ 677 million) of Euro Disney’s $ 3.4 billion debt is in the form of bonds, but bondholder reps so far have not been part of refinancing talks between Walt Disney and the park’s bankers.

Observers in Paris said Wednesday that if the bondholders feel they come out badly in an eventual financial restructuring, they could start legal proceedings that could drag on for years.

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