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Auditors back Euro Disney boss

KPMG Peat Marwick execs finally handed over their independent audit of Euro Disney Monday, providing a small shot in the arm for the financially troubled theme park.

The park’s bankers would not comment on the report, but KPMG is thought to have supported the business plan put in place last year by Euro Disney chairman Philippe Bourguignon.

With the audit now in their hands, Euro Disney’s bankers are in a position to reopen negotiations with the Walt Disney Co. in an attempt to strike a deal to refinance the park. Euro Disney is sitting uneasily on about 20 billion francs ( $ 3.4 billion) of debt and Disney is pushing the park’s 63 bankers to kick in about half of the $ 2 billion that is needed to bring that debt to a manageable level.

Walt Disney is committed to providing the day-to-day funding to keep the park open until March 31, although there are unconfirmed reports that the Burbank-based entertainment giant may extend the deadline to July.

Bourguignon has admitted that without Walt Disney’s current cash lifeline, the park cannot finance itself.

KPMG would not comment on its findings Monday and members of the nine-bank steering committee that faces Walt Disney said they had been sworn to a confidentiality agreement while the negotiations are under way.

But it appears that KPMG feels Bourguignon is on the right track with his business plan.

The main problem facing the huge theme park, the report suggests, is that it is weighed down by debt repayments and reliance on income from property development that never occurred.

The banks must now decide whether they will inject more funds into Euro Disney. Opinion among the money men is divided.

However, the banking steering committee is widely expected to strike a deal with Walt Disney, in the process demanding that Burbank reduce the fees and royalties it takes from the park.

Walt Disney execs have said that the company could walk away from Euro Disney if a satisfactory agreement is not reached.

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