How will Disneyland Paris be saved

Contingency plan to save Disneyland Paris

The realm of magic lands on the hard ground of reality. Eurodisney, as the largest European amusement park in Marne-la-Vallée near Paris is called, has to call the parent company for help in order to make ends meet. In a communiqué on Monday it was announced that the Walt Disney Company in California is investing more than a billion euros in the Paris-based company, which attracts 15 million visitors annually.

The amusement park will receive 420 million euros from the parent company through a capital increase. In addition, the company's debt will be reduced by 600 million euros. That should give the distressed company some air; because it has been groaning since its opening in 1992 under a loan debt of currently 1.7 billion euros.

The Disney corporation had previously only acquired 38 percent of the double park - consisting of classic attractions on the one hand and a replica of Walt Disney studios on the other; after the capital increase, however, he should hold the majority. The second largest shareholder is the Saudi Prince Alwalid bin Talal, who currently holds ten percent. According to Euro Disney's CFO Mark Stead, it has not yet been decided whether he will go along with the capital increase. In any case, Eurodisney would no longer be listed on the Paris Stock Exchange after the measures.

Depreciation

There the company temporarily lost up to 17 percent of its value on Monday. Because of the interest payments to the parent company and other lenders, Eurodisney had never been able to free itself from its horrific debt burden. Instead, it was increasingly saving on its services. In 2013, a public petition with thousands of signatures criticized the loveless presentation, defective systems and the warmed up food. In the same year the number of visitors fell by a million.

Eurodisney tried to catch the downward trend with spectacular attractions, most recently a family fun called Ratatouille. It cost 200 million euros, but brings few new visitors in the short term. In the past annual financial statements, it posted a net loss of 103.6 million euros due to falling sales and the high interest burden.

Huge economic factor

The French government is also following developments around Disneyland in Paris with concern. Today an entire economic region depends on the huge park. Countless hotels with almost 6,000 rooms, 55 restaurants, shops and entertainment venues with a total of 55,000 jobs have been built around the two amusement parks.

The head of Eurodisney, newly appointed in September, the German Tom Wolber, admitted on Monday that the situation was critical: "The deterioration in the economic environment and the weight of corporate debt have severely impaired income and liquidity."

The fact that the US parent company has to help the hitherto largely independent amusement park provokes sarcastic comments among Paris stock exchange experts: Because he initially charged too high interest rates, Uncle Dagobert must now open his wallet himself. (Stefan Brändle from Paris, DER STANDARD, October 7, 2014)