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Euro Disney, Still Struggling With Its Image, Reports A $83 Million Loss

August 13, 1993

PARIS (AP) _ Euro Disney SCA, the foundering American export of Mickey, Donald and Goofy trying to make it in a skeptical and economically weak Europe, said Friday it lost $83 million in its third quarter.

The news came a month after the theme park company said it was re- evaluating plans to expand because of a lack of business. Euro Disney has been struggling to attract visitors amid weak European economic conditions that are holding down tourism.

The company warned July 8 that it expected to post a third-quarter loss after losing $204 million the first six months of the year.

Revenue at the year-old Magic Kingdom 20 miles east of Paris totaled 1.47 billion francs, or $244 million, in the quarter that ended June 30. That was down 2 percent from 1.5 billion francs in the same period last year.

Revenue fell although the park was open fewer days in the year-earlier period.

Euro Disney opened April 12, 1992, and has had a difficult time attracting French visitors.

Initially expected to spread over 4,900 acres when finished in the 21st century, Euro Disney has suffered from an image problem. French newspapers have criticized its overly American profile. In February, the park said about a third of those visiting Euro Disney are French, or 15 percent less than expected.

Moreover, with unemployment topping 11 percent in France and recession plaguing other European nations, vacationers have been holding onto their money.

Last month, the company blamed its losses on lower-than-expected spending on food and merchandise and lower occupancy rates at the theme park’s hotels.

The company also attributed the losses to high interest, lease and depreciation charges from the large initial investment in the first phase of the Euro Disney resort.

The company began re-evaluating its operations last month and is considering a financial restructuring, spokeswoman Debra Gawron said. She declined to elaborate.

Euro Disney also said that in light of current economic conditions it planned to modify the second phase of its expansion, which calls for new attractions, an MGM movie studio, more hotels and a water theme park.

Burbank, Calif.-based Walt Disney Co. owns 49 percent of Euro Disney and last month reported a 17 percent rise in profits for its fiscal third quarter, despite the troubles of Euro Disney.

In the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 1992, Euro Disney lost 188 million francs, or $31 million.

For the first nine months of the fiscal year, Euro Disney’s revenue was 3.3 billion francs, or $550 million, compared with 5.55 billion francs, or $924 million, in the year-earlier period.

Gawron said the larger figure last year was due to construction revenue.