Japan multiplex firm fights debt

Mycal Corp. and Warner Mycal deny that an IPO is being planned

TOKYO — One of the partners in Warner Mycal Corp., Japan’s leading multiplex operator, is implementing a debt-relief strategy that could involve taking its share of the movie exhibition venture public.

Mycal Corp., a supermarket operator that has teamed with an exhibition arm of Warner Bros. in the Japan plex venture, said it is working on a plan to slash billions of dollars in debt and will securitize several of its holdings as part of the debt-reduction plan.

“We are thinking about securitizing six subsidiaries and affiliated companies, and Warner Mycal is one of them,” a Mycal official said.

Mycal IPO planned

According to local media reports, Mycal will sell part or all of its stake in the multiplex venture worth 77 billion yen-177 billion yen ($719.6 million-$1.65 billion) via an IPO that will take place by April 1.

It will also shut down stores and sell off other businesses in order to reduce its debt by about $3.5 billion by the end of February 2004. Company wants to reduce its interest bearing debt to $6.5 billion by that time.

Rumors about an IPO have surfaced, but both Mycal and Warner Mycal deny that an IPO is being planned.

Warner Mycal controls about 10% of the exhibition in the market, with over 200 screens located throughout Japan. After bringing multiplexes to urban areas outside of Japan’s nine major movie markets, the company has started challenging in the main markets, with openings in Yokohama and another in a fringe area of Tokyo.

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