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Cineworld – another sign of the financial crisis engulfing it: target price buttons

The Mrs is threatening to take me on a hot date to see Downton Abbey at our local Cineworld (CINE). With a seventeen month old baby, any date will do. Even that one.  But will even our custom be enough to save Cineworld’s shareholders from losing almost everything? Er…no. There is more bad news today, signs that Cineworld really is scrabbling round at the back of the sofa for any loose change.

EPIC CINE
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Cineworld and the £3 weekend a triumph but an irrelevant one

It would be churlish not to concede that if the aim of Cineworld’s (CINE) £3 tickets on Saturday was to pack cinemas, then the company succeeded. I am hearing numerous reports of packed theatres and even of some folks being turned away as all seats were sold out. Assuming that the folks buying the tickets gorged on diet Pepsi and sweet popcorn as is the norm, then Cineworld will have been profitable this weekend just gone. But ... 

EPIC CINE
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Cineworld and the £3 ticket giveaway- things are getting desperate: stay short

The maths of running a movie theatre are simple. Ticket sales cover all your costs and the profit you make is on the hugely expensive high margin junk food, sweets and teeth rotting drinks you flog. But when audiences slump that means fewer tickets so costs are not covered and then tubs of ice cream sold so one struggles overall to cover costs. That brings us to Cineworld (CINE).

EPIC CINE
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A resting banker explains why Cineworld is a zero

Lucian Miers and myself have repeatedly called out Cineworld (CINE) as a compelling short and those who have followed our calls have prospered. But the FT, the home of almost every wrong call in history from backing the UK joining the Euro to selling its gold in 1997, runs a story “Cineworld debt pile set to save cinema operator from bankruptcy.” You might think this is a reason to buy. Au contaire. A resting banksta writes to me to explain.

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