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GC reduces operating loss by 89%

New plexes planned

General Cinemas Theaters said Thursday its operating loss narrowed significantly for the fiscal year ended in October to $6.2 million from $58.6 million the prior year.

The company, struggling with many of the issues facing exhibitors across the U.S., recently restructured its business, centralizing existing regional offices into its headquarters in Chestnut Hill, Mass. The move was “designed to substantially increase our operating cash flow and enable us to effectively manage our core domestic theater operations,” said Robert Smith, president and chief operating officer of General Cinemas’ parent, GC Companies. He called 1999 a year of transition for General Cinemas during which the company worked to focus its operations in its core markets in the Northeast and Midwest.

Theater plans

He said the group plans to open a 14-screen theater in Chicago and a smaller location in Washington, D.C., in the next few months.

As of the end of October, GC operated 1,052 screens at 138 locations in 23 states in the U.S., plus 186 screens at 18 locations in South America and Mexico. Five of the theaters in Latin America were opened during the past year.

GC Cos. reported a much improved $2.3 million net loss for the year compared with a loss of $41.6 million. Revenue dipped 5% to $386 million. GC’s other investments include telecom company Global TeleSystems Group, photo retailer GrandVision and German cable operator PrimaCom.

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