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Disney hospitality arm bears brunt of coronavirus hit

Disney hospitality arm bears brunt of coronavirus hit

The Walt Disney Company said it had taken a $1.4 billion hit from the coronavirus pandemic during the first quarter of financial 2020.

In a release to markets, the company said profits fell to $460 million over the period, a 91 per cent drop from the $5.4 billion recorded last year.

The company said its leisure operations had been hardest hit.

The parks and cruise division has been a reliable profit driver for Disney in recent years, but has become a financial liability in recent months.

Disney shut its parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong in January, in Tokyo in February and in the United States and France in March.


Its cruise lines have also suspended operations until later in the year.

In total, the leisure business accounted for $1 billion of the $1.4 billion hit to operating income.

However, revenue rose 21 per cent to $18 billion during the quarter, but was largely driven by the acquisition of parts of 21st Century Fox last year.

Disney chairman Bob Iger said the firm was facing “unprecedented” challenges, but added he was confident of recovery.

The firm is already planning to open its Shanghai park on May 11th.

The opening would, however, require health measures, such as masks and temperature checks, he added.

“We are seeing encouraging signs of gradual return to some semblance of normalcy in China,” said Disney chief executive, Bob Chapek.

“While it is too early to predict when we will be able to begin resuming all of our operations, we are evaluating a number of different scenarios to ensure a cautious, sensible and deliberate approach to the eventual reopening of our parks.”

Chapek added he thought there was enough pent-up demand that people would come once the firm does re-open in a limited way.

But outside of Shanghai, executives warned that the timing of re-opening remains unclear.