Giant theater chain AMC Entertainment’s revenue reached $1.4 billion, up 2.4%, as it swung to a net loss of $13.5 million in the fourth quarter.
The loss was due to one-time items of close to $100 million to write down “lease right of use” assets and other charges. Adjusted net income, which factors these out, was $38.9 million, up 105% from the year earlier quarter.
CEO Adam Aron said he was pleased at the quarterly results, where sales grew despite a 1.6% decline in the U.S, box box office. He said the company generated $303 million of free cash flow for the quarter and the chain outpaced the industry in admissions revenue per screen.
The higher revenue was driven by higher ticket prices and concession sales.
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The company said the A-List tier of its AMC Stubs loyalty program, which launched in June 2018, has attracted more than 900,000 subscribers. During the first quarter of 2019, AMC implemented a 10% membership price increase in ten states and a 20% price increase in five states.
“Based on an average monthly frequency of 2.4x for our A-List members in the fourth quarter, their associated full-price bring-along guest attendance, their food and beverage spend and the price increases in the first quarter, we believe the A-List program was profitable in the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2019 compared to our estimated results if the program had not existed. A-List membership levels and contributions continue to exceed our expectations,” the company said.
The circuit has 1,006 theaters and 11,,091 screens in the top five biggest markets in the country, including New York, Phildalelphia, San Francisco Atlanta and Dallas. It operates 22 of the 50 highest-grossing theaters in the U.S., including four of the top five.
One thing of note: on another coronavirus-crazed down day in the market, AMC Entertinment was one of the few stocks — entertainment or otherwise — that rose, closing up 2.7% to $6.09. It jumped nearly 12% in after-hours trading.
But the stock at six bucks has not had a good run. It’s down about 17% so far this year; off 56% over the past year; and has lost a whopping 82% in the past five. The depressed shares, combined with a fair amount of debt, have sparked rumors in the industry that the company could be a takeover target, possible by the likes of Netflix or Apple.
The numbers were announced after market close.
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