Canada’s IMAX Corporation can see the light at the end of the liability tunnel, as it closes in on its debt of US$100 million. Last month, the large format company bought back $90 million worth of notes, which were scheduled to come due in April 2003. IMAX co-CEOs Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler issued a statement that said, ‘The retirement of 90% of these notes virtually eliminates any April 2003 re-financing risk and puts imax on a solid financial footing to implement our long-term growth strategy.’ The company’s senior debt of $200 million will come due in December 2005.
A year ago, IMAX watched as its stock prices plummeted in the face of an uncertain commercial exhibition market. As a result, the company was forced to implement a corporate restructuring plan that saw staff numbers drop below 700, from 1,000. Prior to that, imax had been actively seeking a buyer, but a company spokesperson confirmed that is no longer the case.
In other imax news, the Smithsonian Institute has signed on for a third IMAX theater, which will be located at the Air and Space Museum’s new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The Smithsonian will also upgrade its first theater to a 3D system.
On the production front, IMAX has partnered with the National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) to develop and produce a film about the behind-the-wheel action during competitions. Filming is slated to begin this year, with a worldwide release planned for 2003.