Reading International, Inc. (NASDAQ: RDI), an internationally diversified cinema and real estate company with operations and assets in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, today announced business updates in response to the continued impact of COVID-19, or coronavirus.
As of March 23, 2020, all of the Company’s cinemas in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand are temporarily closed in accordance with the directions and recommendations of the relevant federal, state and local authorities. With respect to the Company’s real estate operations in Australia and New Zealand (which include the following centers: Newmarket Village (Queensland), Auburn Redyard (New South Wales), Cannon Park (Queensland), The Belmont Common (Western Australia) and Courtenay Central (New Zealand), the majority of the tenants operating at each of these centers prior to the COVID-19 crisis, have temporarily suspended operations at the direction and recommendation of the local governmental authorities.
In light of the temporary closures of most of its cinema and real estate operations, and due to the continued uncertainty in the market due to COVID-19, the Company took swift action to increase the Company’s financial flexibility, including renewing and amending credit facilities and drawing funds under certain of the credit facilities, thereby increasing cash on hand. In addition, the Company has implemented actions to further improve liquidity by reducing non-essential capital expenditures and operating expenses, as well as other actions.
"While this is a challenging time, I strongly believe in the long-term opportunities for our cinema and real estate businesses and remain optimistic that the COVID-19 impacts on our businesses are temporary," commented Reading’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Ellen Cotter.
Ms. Cotter continued: "Reading’s internationally diversified cinema and real estate portfolio, which includes valuable real estate in New York City, Australia, and New Zealand, combined with the proactive actions we have taken and our current cash on hand, buttresses our confidence that we will be able to navigate the current crisis. In Reading’s proud history, we have successfully led our business through various global challenges. Our current actions are prudent based on what we see happening around the world and will support our stability, while positioning us for the coming economic recovery."
Separately, as has been publicly reported, Ellen Cotter and Vice Chair and Executive Vice President, Margaret Cotter have incurred, and continue to incur, significant legal costs and expenses in litigation relating to matters concerning the estate of their father, James J. Cotter, Sr., and the Living Trust and Voting Trust established by their father. To fund these legal costs and expenses, Ellen Cotter and Margaret Cotter sold some of their personal Class A shares to meet litigation expense commitments. After such sales, Ellen Cotter and Margaret Cotter continue to own substantial Class A shares and Class B shares, and together with the fiduciary positions they hold, continue to beneficially own in excess of 70% of the Class B voting shares of the Company.
Ellen Cotter and Margaret Cotter made the following statement: "The highest expression of our confidence in the future of Reading is our willingness to devote significant personal assets to support Reading’s long-term business strategy by protecting the Estate’s and Trust’s controlling position in Reading through the litigation."
About Reading International, Inc.
Reading International Inc. (NASDAQ: RDI) an internationally diversified cinema and real estate company is a leading entertainment and real estate company, engaging in the development, ownership and operation of multiplex cinemas and retail and commercial real estate in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
The family of Reading brands includes cinema brands: Reading Cinemas, Angelika Film Centers, Consolidated Theatres, City Cinemas, and State Cinema; live theatres operated by Liberty Theatres in the United States; and signature property developments, including Newmarket Village, Auburn Redyard, Cannon Park, and The Belmont Common in Australia, Courtenay Central in New Zealand, and 44 Union Square in New York City.
Additional information about Reading can be obtained from the Company's website: http://www.readingrdi.com.
This press release contains certain statements that are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such statements are qualified by the inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally and also may materially differ from actual future experience involving any one or more of such statements. Such risks and uncertainties include the impact of the currently expanding outbreak of the COVID-19, or coronavirus; the disruptions or reductions in the utilization of entertainment, hospitality and travel venues, as well as in our operations, due to pandemics, epidemics, widespread health emergencies, or outbreaks of infectious diseases such as the coronavirus; the potential impacts of cessation of our operations on covenants under our credit facilities and other agreements to which we are subject, and these and other risks and uncertainties set forth from time to time in Reading's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The inclusion of a forward-looking statement in this press release should not be regarded as a representation by Reading that its objectives will be achieved. Reading undertakes no obligation to publicly update forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
Reading International, Inc.
Gilbert Avanes, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Andrzej Matyczynski, Executive Vice President for Global Operations