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Euro Disney loss is worse than expected

Higher operating costs and flat admissions take toll

PARIS — Troubled theme park operator Euro Disney more than doubled its net losses to a worse-than-expected $186 million on stable revenues of $1.35 billion in the fiscal year to Sept. 30.

Analysts had been expecting red ink closer to $130 million.

The company swung from an operating profit of $41.4 million to a $30.8 million operating loss. It cited resumed royalty payments to 39% shareholder the Walt Disney Co. and increased operating costs in a year that saw a flat 12.4 million admissions at Disneyland Paris and the Walt Disney Studios, its two theme parks on the outskirts of Paris.

Chairman Andre Lacroix said it had been “another difficult year for the European travel and tourism industry.”

Spending per visitor increased 5% to $55. However, hotel occupancy rates fell 4.6% to 80.5%, while spending per guest went up 2%.

Euro Disney spent much of this year teetering on the brink of bankruptcy until reaching a last-ditch agreement in September to reschedule net debts of $2.647 billion.

Under the terms of its deal with creditors, Euro Disney must carry out a $322.4 million capital increase by next March or face new negotiations.

But to cover an increase in operational costs from $1.18 billion in 2002-03 to $1.382 billion, Euro Disney must also find a way of hiking its visitor numbers.

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