CINEMA chain Cineworld is set to restructure its debt in a move to exit bankruptcy and avoid selling its US, UK and Irish businesses.

The group, which runs around 750 sites across the globe, filed for bankruptcy protection in the US last year following significant losses which were accelerated by the impact of the pandemic.

Bosses say the company is aiming to raise $2.26 billion and restructure its $5 billion debt, which would allow it to emerge from bankruptcy in the first half of 2023.

The financial restructuring will involve lenders providing around $1.46 billion (£1.2 billion) in new credit, as well as $800 million (£651 million) of equity to the lenders.

Earlier this year, Cineworld, which also owns the Picturehouse chain in the UK, launched a process to find a potential buyer.

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However, after struggling to find an acceptable offer, it said on Monday it will now halt the potential sale efforts for the businesses in the UK, US and Ireland.

It will however continue with an auction for its operations outside of these countries.

Mooky Greidinger, chief executive of Cineworld, said: “This agreement with our lenders represents a ‘vote-of-confidence’ in our business and significantly advances Cineworld towards achieving its long-term strategy in a changing entertainment environment.

“With a growing slate of blockbusters and audiences returning to cinemas in increasing numbers, Cineworld is poised to continue offering moviegoers the most immersive cinema experiences and maintain its position as the ‘best place to watch a movie’.”

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The group said it will continue to trade as “business as usual” throughout the financial restructuring process.

Cineworld’s shares have plunged almost 99% over the past five years, as it was hit particularly hard by the pandemic, which led to the enforced closure of its cinema sites.

The business has posted significant losses since and has also come under pressure from growth in streaming services.