Village Roadshow negotiations continue
By Brendan Swift
Entertainment group Village Roadshow remains in negotiations to refinance almost $500 million in debt in its film production unit after several months of delays.
The company, which originally said it expected to complete the refinancing late last year, told the Australian Securities Exchange that it now expects to complete the deal by the end of April.
The company has several films in production or development including Sherlock Holmes, Cats and Dogs 2, Where the Wild Things Are, Guardians of Ga’hoole, and Happy Feet 2.
The news comes as the global credit crisis continues to apply pressure across markets while lenders remain reticent to provide finance.
It follows last year’s decision by Village Roadshow to merge its film production division with Concord Music Group to form the US-based Village Roadshow Entertainment Group.
Village Roadshow’s 41 per cent stake in the business carried $497.4 million in debt at the end of last year – almost one-fifth higher than six months earlier.
The company has previously said that it plans to reduce its film funding facility to between $US900 million and $US1 billion compared to its current size of about $US1.4 billion.