Now what?: Analysts weigh in on Cineplex
That's the big question facing Cineplex Inc. after the demise of its sale to Cineworld Plc and the great unknown of how quickly movie-goers will return to theatres once they re-open after COVID-19-enforced closures.
Analysts have been taking a closer look at what the future holds for Canada's largest theatre operator after Cineplex shares plummeted almost 19 per cent on Tuesday. That dip was powered by a $178-million first-quarter loss the company reported late Monday, a pact with lenders that would require the company to raise $250 million in order to secure extended covenant relief, and a boilerplate warning about its ability to continue as a going concern.
Here's some of what Bay Street experts are telling their clients about Cineplex's outlook.
National Bank Financial analyst Adam Shine upgraded the stock to Sector Perform from Underperform and nudged up his price target by one dollar to $9.00 per share.
His thesis is built in part on the possibility of asset sales. In his report, Shine pointed to Cineplex Digital Media, Player One Amusement Group (P1AG) and the company's headquarters as potential divestment options, with the latter being the "most palatable and easiest sale," according to Shine. He also said Cineplex could try to monetize its Scene loyalty program.
Scotiabank Global Banking and Markets analyst Jeff Fan maintained a Sector Outperform rating on Cineplex, but shaved his price target by a couple of dollars to $13 per share. That's based on the possibility of Cineplex diluting shareholders to satisfy the financing requirement if it wants to maintain some breathing room with its banks.
"We maintain our view that the covenant relief and the additional financing provide sufficient cushion for Cineplex to ride through the pandemic," Fan wrote. "However, after our examination of the credit amendment agreement filed on June 30, we believe the $250 million of additional financing requirement (before August 31) has created an equity overhang."
RBC Dominion Securities analyst Drew McReynolds held his Sector Perform (with speculative risk) rating on Cineplex, while cutting his price target to $11 per share from $13, based on weak box office expectations.
"The two biggest known unknowns around theatrical exhibition are the extent to which the re-opening goes smoothly given a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and the extent to which patrons feel comfortable going to out-of-home leisure and entertainment venues given this backdrop," McReynolds wrote.
Of seven analysts tracked by Bloomberg, two have a Buy (or equivalent) rating on Cineplex while the other five have a Hold. The average price target is $11.50 per share, representing almost-43-per-cent upside compared to Tuesday's closing price of $8.05.