Wanda Sports Group, the sports unit of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, has signed a $240-million senior term loan facility agreement with Credit Suisse, enabling the company to refinance and prepay its existing senior 364-day term loan facility dated March 15, 2019.

“The successful refinancing demonstrates continued confidence in our business and operations, despite the global challenges and uncertainties resulting from COVID-19,” said Yang Hengming, president and CEO of Wanda Sports Group, in a recent statement.

The update comes as the novel coronavirus – which has claimed almost 242,800 infections worldwide as of March 20 – has hit Wanda Sports Group as numerous sports events have been cancelled or postponed in fear of the spread of the deadly virus.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 7, Wanda Sports Group warned that the spread of the pandemic might have “a material adverse impact” on its business operations.

The company has cancelled or deferred mass participation events in mainland China, Taiwan and the Philippines and will have to call a stop to other races “based on the current trajectory of the spread of the coronavirus.”

“The novel coronavirus could have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows or liquidity,” said the company.

The share price of Wanda Sports Group dropped almost 182.63 per cent from the monthly peak of $4.14 on March 4 to $1.47 on March 16, although rallied on March 17. It increased by nearly 23.81 per cent to $1.82 after the announcement of the refinancing agreement.

Apart from its struggling sports-related business, the parent company Wanda Group also needs to pay about 39.8 billion yuan ($5.61 billion) of its bonds this year – almost 36 per cent of its total outstanding notes. Wanda Sports Group disclosed on February 19 that it was engaging in preliminary discussions concerning a potential sale of The IRONMAN Group.

Founded in 2018 by Beijing-based private property developer Wanda Group, Wanda Sports Group owns Switzerland-based sports marketing firm Infront Sports & Media, and The IRONMAN Group, which operates a global portfolio of sports events.

The company offers a comprehensive array of events, marketing and media services through three primary segments, namely mass participation, spectator sports, as well as digital, production, sports solutions (DPSS). It has more than 60 offices and 1,600 employees around the world.

In July 2019, China-based Wanda Sports Group raised $190 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq, less than half of its initial target of up to $500 million.

The company reported a loss of €31.2 million ($34 million) in the third quarter of 2019, compared to a profit of €13.1 million ($14 million) in the same period in 2018, shows its latest financial results. The performance, said the company, was impacted by stock-based compensation expenses, the remaining IPO-related costs and the financing costs.

Its revenue stood at €245.2 million ($264 million) in the third quarter, up 8 per cent year-over-year.



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