TEXT - S&P comments on Regal Entertainment Group
Dec 3 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that Regal Entertainment Group's recent acquisition of 25 theaters with 301 screens from Great Escape Theatres for $91 million and its plan to make a special dividend of approximately $155 million will not affect our 'B+' corporate credit rating or stable rating outlook on the company. We expect Regal will maintain adequate liquidity, despite funding the acquisition and dividend with cash. Cash balances were $251.4 million as of Sept. 27, 2012. We expect that Regal will end the year with roughly $100 million of cash and an undrawn $85 million revolving credit facility.
Regal is paying a 5.5x EBITDA multiple for the acquisition. We believe that lease-adjusted leverage will remain roughly the same, in the mid- to high-5x area, after Regal assumes lease obligations from the acquisition. Under our base-case scenario, we expect leverage to increase to the low- to mid-6x area in 2013, because we expect attendance levels to continue to decline, and debt levels to remain high.