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Chairman Says Euro Disney Will Not Close

August 23, 1993|From Reuters

PARIS — The peak summer months have brought no financial relief to the money-losing Euro Disney theme park, the firm's chairman said in an interview published Sunday.

But the 16-month-old enterprise will not shut down, and expansion plans--now on hold--eventually will get back on track, Philippe Bourguignon told the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.

"Summer hasn't been as good as we thought it would be," he said. "Every day we have more than 50,000 people, the hotels are full right now, but July was a bit weak. And visitors are spending a bit less in the park."

Reiterating company estimates, Bourguignon said Euro Disney lost more than $260 million in the first three quarters of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

The park, 49% owned by Walt Disney Co., will suffer more losses in the last quarter, he said.

"If you ask me if we are satisfied, the answer is no," Bourguignon said.

"It's clear the start-up has been slower than expected. But there's nothing dramatic about it."

The French executive "categorically" denied newspaper reports that the losses might force the park to shut down, noting that Euro Disney had become Europe's leading tourist attraction within one year of opening.

"People tend to forget that," he said.

Although expansion plans have been delayed, Bourguignon said they eventually would move forward: "Euro Disney is there, it exists, it's present in the Paris region, it will stay there and over time will continue to expand."

The park, he added, was a hit with consumers and was meeting no cultural resistance.

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