EVENT Hospitality and Entertainment, best known for the Event Cinemas franchise, has sold $79.6 million worth of non-core property assets.
According to Business News Australia, the now-divested properties include the Forum Building in Brisbane, a serviced office in Double Bay, the Rydges Bankstown, the Rydges Plaza Cairns Hotel and more.
Revenue for EVENT had fallen 58 per cent to $294 million in the December half year, after it swung to a $31 million operating loss from a $144 million profit just one year earlier, according to the Financial Review.
EVENT CEO Jane Hastings told Business News Australia the recent sales are a boon for the company, with the sale price exceeding recent valuations by $29.8 million.
“Since announcing our strategy in February 2021 to divest non-core property assets, we have made excellent progress realising prices significantly above previously independent valuations,” Ms Hastings said.
“The sale of $79.6 million in assets to date has recognised a 60 per cent increase on independent valuations. This has enabled us to reduce net debt levels, progress major developments and undertake key asset upgrades.
“We are also in the process of obtaining updated independent valuations for the property portfolio as at 30 June 2021 and expect a positive uplift in value.”
On the back of these divestments, EVENT has identified even more non-core properties that they are aiming to sell in the 2022 financial year.
They have a target exceeding $150 million, based on independent valuations.
Ms Hastings also provided an updated on how the EVENT Cinemas division is going amid recent lockdowns.
“The expectation was that an effective vaccine rollout program would mean that the impact of snap lockdowns would be mitigated, and government support would no longer be required,” Ms Hastings said.
“In light of the current lockdowns resulting in restrictions that are now impacting most of Australia, further support is required.
“We are pleased that the Business Support packages are being offered to small and medium businesses, however, they are currently not applicable to large businesses with the most employees.”
According to Screen Australia, the box office revenue earned by all films in 2020 was down 67.2 per cent, bringing in $401.2 million.
The number of cinemas in Australia went down by 7per cent. There were also 3 per cent less screens available nationwide.
Last year, alternative at-home offerings to the cinema were also provided to the general public, including Disney+ Premier Access. This provided families an option to watch new releases from Disney and Pixar, such as 2020’s Mulan, for an additional fee on top of their initial subscription.
In Australia, the additional fee was approximately $30. With two tickets to the cinema averaging $28.46, according to Screen Australia, this was a safer and financially comparable option for many families.