WINNIPEG, Manitoba, April 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Empire Industries Ltd. (TSX-V: “EIL”, “Empire” or the “Company”) today announced that it intends to file its 2019 audited annual results and related management discussion and analysis on or before May 29, 2020, which is two weeks before the extension deadline granted to all Canadian public companies.
The Company intends to file its interim financial statements and related management discussion and analysis for the first quarter of 2020 at the same time, which will be 45 days earlier than the temporary extension filing deadline. These two reports will give a detailed assessment of 2019, Q1 2020 and the outlook for the balance of 2020. The Company is relying on the exemption provided by the local blanket orders of the Alberta, BC, and Ontario Securities Commissions, permitting Reporting Issuers to extend the filing deadlines otherwise applicable under securities laws by up to 45 days. The Company confirms that its management and other insiders are subject to an insider trading black-out policy that reflects the principles in section 9 of National Policy 11-207.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in early March and Empire’s business has been negatively impacted since that time. Empire has successfully kept its ride manufacturing facilities operating through the crisis, although the closure of theme parks around the world has resulted in the delay or suspension of some ride manufacturing contracts while other contracts in our backlog remain unchanged in terms of schedule. The Company was very active in Q4 2019 and the first half of Q1 2020 installing and commissioning six ride systems around the world. Travel restrictions have been imposed by countries around the world, making it impossible for Empire to continue with its on-site installation and commissioning work at all six sites it was working at. This has had a negative impact on Empire’s operations. Work on these projects is expected to resume as soon as the travel restrictions to those locations have been lifted and temporary foreigner visa suspensions are lifted. The challenge remains determining when this will occur. Maintenance work at theme parks, as well as sales of spare parts, have been reduced significantly as all of the theme parks have been closed during the pandemic. These sales are expected to return at their usual volumes once the theme parks are able to re-open. All of this has put downward pressure on the Company’s incoming cash flow. Empire has responded by scaling back resources and by implementing strict cash conservation measures. With the consent of the Company’s primary lender, a principal payment of USD $6.4 million that was due on March 31, 2020 has been deferred by 60 days to May 29, 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had virtually no impact on Empire’s co-venture business. Empire continues to pursue co-venture opportunities. The Pigeon Forge, Tennessee co-venture, where Empire holds an option to acquire 50%, is still planning to open in the spring of 2021. Other co-venture opportunities have been identified and are being pursued in North America, Europe, and Asia.
“Since the pandemic has raced around the world, we have seen a general slowdown in new ride prospects and we are assessing this reality and having discussions with all of our customers about their future capital plans. Fortunately, our co-venture opportunities continue to be active and we will balance our overhead cost structure to match market demands and change our priorities as required,” said Guy Nelson, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Empire. “Innovation is one of our core values. It is a critical success factor in the creation of theme park attractions and it will drive future demand for our attractions and services. These are difficult times for all concerned, but Empire is committed to taking the steps needed to persevere, and strategically position itself for success, when the pandemic is behind us.”
Hao Wang, President and Chief Operating Officer added; “We took early measures to prevent the virus getting into our workplace. These measures included dividing production into three separate teams, working 24 hours per day with each shift being 1/3 of the size of the pre-pandemic single shift, in essence, implementing social distancing on each shift. We also continue to execute essential ride projects in our Orlando facility and our Parts and Service division continues to satisfy customer demands from around the world. Our work-from-home program for engineering, support functions and the co-venture team is working well and we continue to focus on delivering on our commitments to both our customers and employees.”
About Empire Industries Ltd.
Empire focuses on designing, supplying, and installing iconic media-based attractions and ride systems for the global theme park industry. Empire also uses these same turn-key integration services for special projects such as large optical telescopes and enclosures. Empire also has commenced an initiative to leverage its world class flying theater and attraction development capability on a co-venture ownership basis. Empire was selected as a 2020 TSX Venture 50 company. The 2020 TSX Venture 50 is a ranking of top performers on the TSX Venture Exchange over the past year. The ranking is comprised of 10 companies from each of 5 industry sectors, with Empire being selected in the Diversified Industry category. Selection was based on three equally weighted criteria; share price, trading and market capitalization. Empire’s common shares are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol EIL. Empire’s common shares are listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol EIL.
For more information about the Company, visit www.empind.com or contact:
|Guy Nelson |
Chief Executive Officer
Phone: (416) 366-7977
|Allan Francis |
Vice President – Corporate Affairs and Administration
Phone: (204) 589-9301
This news release contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, concerning Empire’s business and affairs. In certain cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as ‘‘plans’’, “evaluating” ‘‘expects’’ or ‘‘does not expect’’, ‘‘budget’’, ‘‘scheduled’’, ‘‘estimates’’, “forecasts’’, ‘‘intends’’, ‘‘anticipates’’ or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results ‘‘may’’, ‘‘could’’, ‘‘would’’, ‘‘might’’ or ‘‘will be taken’’, ‘‘occur’’ or ‘‘be achieved’’. Such statements includes statements with respect to: (i) the intention of the Company to file its 2019 audited annual results and related management discussion and analysis on or before May 29, 2020; (ii) the intention of the Company to file its interim financial statements and related management discussion and analysis for the first quarter of 2020 on or before May 29, 2020; (iii) the expectation that work on the Company’s projects will resume as soon as the travel restrictions to those locations have been lifted and temporary foreigner visa suspensions are lifted; and (iv) the expectation that sales are expected to return at their usual volumes once the theme parks are able to re-open. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements. Although Empire believes these statements to be reasonable, no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements included in this news release should not be unduly relied upon. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of prevailing economic conditions, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of Empire. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release represent Empire’s expectations as of the date hereof and are subject to change after such date. Empire disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable securities regulations.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.