A report from the Paris Recapitalization Information Meeting

On Thursday 11 December 2014 a Shareholders Recapitalization Information Meeting was held in Paris to discuss the Recapitalization proposal that has been made between Euro Disney and The Walt Disney Company (TWDC).

This meeting was part of a number of conferences that were being held in France to help inform shareholders of the proposal and to enable them to ask questions to members of the Supervisory Board and Company Officers.

At the meeting  Virginie CALMELS, President of the Supervisory Board, Mark STEAD, Chief Financial Officer and Yoann NGUYEN, Investors Relations  were in attendance and Tom WOLBER, CEO of Euro Disney S.A.S. joined the meeting shortly after it stared.  Tom spoke in English and the participants had a simultaneous translation.

The meeting was held in French and the translation below has been supplied by Edith of APPAED, the Association des Petits Porteurs d’Actions Euro Disney.  Edith attended the meeting and has kindly given her permission for the translation of her notes to be published on our blog.

The meeting began in 19 :45  and Virginie CALMELS did not make an introductory speech because of the necessary to answer questions on the Recapitalization.

First question: What is the point of the operation for the Small Shareholders?

Virginie Calmels: First we need to  place the operation in its context. The interest is above all for the Company because its financial situation is bad and could lead to a dead end.

The planned conditions in the Financial Plan have been modified by TWDC. The last fiscal year is bad, that’s why we come to that. The expectations have not been kept on the attendance. On the horizon 2018, the expectations are not good with a lowest point estimated at 800 million euros loss in 2018.

Five solutions were considered :

  • Defer the payment of the interests, but the overdraft would have been 180 million euros.
  • Limit strictly the expenditure to the maintenance, the overdraft would have been 300 million euros and it would have lowered the Park competitiveness.
  • Modify the structure of funding and thus look at an additional debt, but its amount would have reached 14 times the EBIDTA and it would have been impossible to deal with the debt.
  • Make an increase of stockholders’ equity by convertible bond issue, but the probability to attract new investors is low.
  • Make a capital increase for 1 billion euros, but with not much chance of success.

A Shareholder: We notice that all the forecasts made for 20 years have been proven to be incorrect. Ten years ago President LACROIX gave the same speech for the capital increase in 2004, operation which did not show fruits. And today it gives 10 years to refund 1 billion, that is to say provide 100 million euros cash a year for the repayment. It is impossible. We are diluted and the price share is at the lowest. The Company is almost in situation of suspension of payments. Banks would never have accepted such a situation.

Virginie CALMELS: It would be worse if we had banks

Mark STEAD: The use of the available credit line does not mean that we are in suspension of payments.

Shareholder: But it had to be paid off on 30 September, which did not happen.

Mark STEAD: It has to be paid off on 30 September, but we can take on credit line on 1st October.

Virginie CALMELS: the expectations were not kept actually The Supervisory Board was very present and said that terms should be anticipated. We knew that there would be a problem in 2015.

A Shareholder: I have made a study on 15 European Parks. We are the only one with those problems TWDC is acting like a fireman pyromaniac. It is important to identify the Business Model‘s problem. If you have losses, the Business Model is not good, a bad economic policy has been led by the successive Presidents. Whose fault is it?

Virginie CALMELS: We don’t deny the facts. Whose fault is it?  There are several points. The cost price is higher than the prices; Discounts… Policy of discount pulled down the sales. We try to get out of the spiral. But it crumpled up with the crisis. If it had been outside this period of crisis, we would have been able to see fruits. We returned now to a controlled policy of discount to avoid a too massive loss of visitors.

A Shareholder: you only talk about financial problems, but the problem is the management. You never considered the possibility of making profits. The royalties, the management, everything is calculated on the turnover. At present, the Parent company (Euro Disney S.C.A.) is in positive result, it has no debt. Thus you have to raise your results in the affiliate.

Virginie CALMELS: If you take all the reports of the Supervisory Board, we noticed that the Company has to control the costs. Some efforts have been made, but not where we would like; in particular the expenses of staffs because we continue to increase the number the employees.

The real matter is the investment policy. TWDC wants the Company to continue to invest, in spite of its bad short-term results. It is necessary to be there for the long term. It is a rare strategic choice.

A Shareholder: The TWDC is not a friendly shareholder. They are the ones who have the most to lose. They are the one and only Shareholder to make money, to take advantage of this showcase to develop its additional business.

Virginie CALMELS: I will not judge, but there would be no Euro Disney without the TWDC. The French Government wanted it to be a listed Company. The operational management has to be considered in a tight context: there is a convention with TWDC. We can discuss with them on several options, but one’s need to look from where we start. And you need arguments to negotiate. In this case there is no other possible deal considering the situation.

A Shareholder: If tomorrow is worse than today, we only have to sell our shares. Will it be a retrait of the quotation?

Virginie CALMELS: If the Prince follows, the TWDC won’t have 95%. If he did not follow, a retrait could have taken place.

Mark STEAD: the transaction is proposed. There is no alternative. If the Shareholders decide not to follow and if the Prince goes out completely, in this case TWDC could reach 95%. There are many possible options.

Tom WOLBER: It will allow us to continue what is important for the Guest,  the quality. For two years we began again to invest and we can see the satisfaction increase. Ratatouille is a very big success and the satisfaction in the Studios increase.

We want to invest for the 25th Anniversary, We need to replace systems.  The attendance felt 5% but the amount of the amount of satisfaction increase. To invest in quality will be paying. It is a long-term job.

Shareholder: It is maddening that the average spending increases. But was it the good time to begin renovations so that there is a decline of 10% of the hotel capacity?

You always lie. It is « abominable» than the Cabinet LEDOUBLE speak about “fair” character of the offer.

Tom WOLBER: For the hotels, it is independent.  For the price of the share, every expert would come to the same conclusion. It is not a pleasant situation, but we can’t’ do anything.

Virginie CALMELS: We brought in several experts among whom Bank Rothschild, Cabinet JPR, The Supervisory Board surrounded themselves with renown firms. There is a difference between the spirit and the letter, the law and the justice.

Shareholder: It is rather a question of “ethics “.

Virginie CALMELS: They are competent. The conclusion is unbiased. The weight of TWDC did not impact the independence of those Firms.

Tom WOLBER: You cannot renovate hotels without closing them; and it is never the good timing. The renovation will allow higher prices. Closures are calculated. Everything has to be ready for the end of the crisis. It is necessary.

Virginie CALMELS: We would have preferred to have this investment plan before the crisis. The discount policy coupled with the not investment, then do the contrary but during the crisis has been the worst timing. The management is moving to average / long term. This activity (editor’s note: Amusement Parks) needs much investment.

Tom WOLBER: In 2017 for the 25th Anniversary the hotel will be renovated and have full capacity.

A Shareholder: let us return to the details of the operation. The recapitalization of 1 billion euros is away to make lose interest for the small Shareholders. It is shocking to speak of OPO.

Mark STEAD: No banks wanted to guarantee the operation. The TWDC vouch for it. It will increase their participation which will be at least of 41%. The OPO is an obligation in law.

What is unique is that TWDC announces it before. And it is important because it sets the price of the share to 3,46 €, therefore 1,25€ is equivalent to 3.46 with the augmentation of the number of shares. 1.25 € is a balanced value.

The launch has been made before the announcement of the annual results because we thought that the price of the share could fall after the publication.

In 2024, if the business goes well we will be able to pay the interests and approximately 1 billion debt will remain. Par rapport Regard to the business plan, we think we will be able to refinance this debt or with the Banks or with TWDC.

In the meantime there is no refund, so there will be more cash for the Society.

A Shareholder: You want to put the burden on our Company with 600 million from a subsidiary; but we do not have to take them.

Mark STEAD: The augmentation is only done at the level of EDA which is listed. If we do not raise the debt and make this operation at the level of EDA, the TWDC will take everything. And the value or the quoted share would have flopped to 90%.

Shareholder: the set-up is very cunning.

Mark STEAD: if we have a downgrade of the debt, in the current situation, it would mean that the share has no value. If the creditors take control, the share flops to 0.

How to value this depreciation? Is has been studied with the Statutory auditors. A listed Company is the value of the group.

Shareholder: It is necessary to remain careful on your projections.

Mark STEAD: It is based on what’s going on. The current value is lower than the book value.

A Shareholder: after the operation, what will be the impact on the reduction in the financial charge?  Was the departure of Philippe GAS made at the right time, or was it a sanction? If the French market does not star again at once, do you have a B plan?

Tom WOLBER: Philippe’s departure has nothing to do with his performances. There was the problem with the Director of Shanghai who left. Philippe has been appointed for his knowledge of the oriental market. Certainly it was not the best moment. Philippe would have liked to stay to oversee this operation.

Mark STEAD: The reduction in the financial charge will be 13 to 15 million euros. The French market represents 50% of our business. For the rest, we are looking to the markets which are in good shape: Great Britain, Spain, and tourists arrivals in Paris. We started to work with Tour Operators. Those tourists pay at full price, stay only one day and buy a lot of souvenirs. Russia, it is difficult with the events; Saudi Arabia also with the oil price.

A Shareholder: Why the recommendations of the Supervisory Board were not taken into account?  In your last speech in the General Meeting, things did not seem to be so bad? You speak about stall expenses, are you going to o reduce your remuneration?

Virginie CALMELS: Recommendations are issued. Altogether they are followed. But the crisis made that the timing was not suited. During the last General Meeting, we did not get all the information. The activity deteriorated from month to month.

Mark STEAD: We began to work as usual in January, as we do every year. We noticed the deterioration and a team began to work on it. From April we have seen a fall in the business and we adjusted the business plan and developed solutions.

Virginie CALMELS: We are paid by attendance fees. We can imagine members unpaid. But any work deserves salary. There is no possible comparison with the payroll.

A Shareholder: The Yield management allows a company to anticipate. We have never seen that:  Euro Disney, year after year subsidized visits. The policy is to ensure by the volumes. But isn’t it better to have 8 million profitable visitors?

Have you heard about the theory of the Agency? (In the listed Companies, it is necessary to smooth the balance of power between shareholders and managers). In the case of Euro Disney the main shareholder is also manager: So which is the legitimacy of the policy of TWDC? (Example: the purchase of Nokia by Microsoft).

Virginie CALMELS: In what that is going to apply in Euro Disney? Who should be a potential buyer?

Shareholder: After 10-15 years there should be finally profits but no dividends to be distributed. The money comes at first from the Shareholders and from the State; it is a despoilment.

Virginie CALMELS: I do not believe in the application of that theory of the Agency for Euro Disney. There will always be a kind of transparency.

I don’t believe that in 20 years there are big dividends only for TWDC. It will always be necessary to make Investment. It is a fact that the Business Plans were not kept. This operation will allow us more flexibility. We are not able to generate many results. Results yes but not much

A Shareholder: 100% participation does not change the image. If loads are proportional in the turnover, it is insoluble.

Mark STEAD: It is the same for all the Parks, and they are profitable.

Virginie CALMELS: France is not an easy country for the workforce.

Mark STEAD: LEGO pays 8% on the turnover; Six Flags pays 12% on the turnover.

A Shareholder: All the financial newspapers recommended not to participate in the operation but to keep shares for the Shareholders Club. There will be always the same advantages? How did the Conferences in Province go?

Tom WOLBER: every old member of the Shareholders Club will stay member. The conditions will change for new members. There will be the same rights and the same advantages.

Yoann NGUYEN: The Conferences are doing well and the participants are satisfied.

A Shareholder: And Star Tours 2?

Tom WOLBER: Next year the new Star Wars will be launched.

At 21:35 the meeting ended.

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APPAED to vote against the Recapitalization Proposal.

APPAED, the Association of Small Euro Disney Shareholders has announced today, that at its General Meeting, the association decided to vote against the TWDC Recapitalization proposal that has been presented by  Euro Disney S.C.A.

The association has said “This project is not in favor of Small Shareholders who will be diluted or will have to spend a lot of money to keep the same percentage of their Capital”.

They continue “It is not possible infinitely to ask to Small Shareholders to give money without any compensation except the satisfaction to know that Euro Disney will have the money to prepare the 25th Anniversary”,  “Avoid drastic reforms in the management and/or the structure of the company”.

They are advising their members to vote No to resolutions 1, 2, 3, 11, 12, 13 and 14. And to either vote No or Abstain on resolutions 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15.

This decision by APPEAD may not prevent the recapitalization  project being approved as the association does not have the majority of the votes. But it is a way for the association and their members to express dissatisfaction with the proposal.

The Euro Disney S.C.A. AGM will be held on 13th January 2015 at Palais des Congrès, Paris.  More information about APPAED can be found on their website.

Recapitalization essential for the success of Disneyland Paris – Tom Wolber.

Tom Wolber, President of Euro Disney S.A.S. meet with representatives of APPAED, the Association of Small Holders of Euro Disney Shares on 3 December 2014  where the proposed TWDC the recapitalization plan was discussed, and how it will affect Small Shareholders.

Wolber stated that it is essential for the success of Euro Disney the recapitalization operation is a success to allow for investments and increasing the quality of experience for the guests and for the renovation of 10 attractions and for  preparation of the 25th anniversary celebrations.

It is compulsory due to the amount of the debt and represents a high part of the financial burden. The Recapitalization will allow avoiding problems in a near future.

After the Restructuring Plan of 2012, the focus was put on the quality. The prices do not impact on the figures. The focus is the satisfaction of regular customers who return every 3 or 4 years.

We also say that if the Recapitalization seems to be a good thing for the Company, the conditions are not satisfying for Small Shareholders whose capital depreciates. The fact is that any listed Company is subject to increases and to reductions in stock market price.

We said that for a lot of Shareholders, Euro Disney is not a Company like others because it sells Magic and Dream and consideration should be given to the sentimental side.

For your information: 26,000 shareholders of  the 56, 000 listed own 20 shares on average.

Prince Alwaleed will join the Recapitalization, but he will consider the results within the next two years

– Invesco (that owns 5% of the capital) remains silent at this moment.

– The report of the Independent Expert on the operation and the « fairness» of the amount of 1, 25€ for the new share will be released in last days of December.

– The Supervisory Board takes to heart to be independent to represent everybody: we pointed out that they have not consulted or informed Small Shareholders.

By way of conclusion Tom WOLBER assured us that he will continue with the current policy of Communication and he hopes that all together we will work on the success of Euro Disney.

Disneyland Paris Cast Member killed in hit and run.

Tragic news is being reported by the French newspaper L’EXPRESS  that two Disneyland Paris Cast Members were struck by a white van while using a pedestrian crossing on Saturday 27 December 2014, killing one of then and hospitalizing the other.

The Cast Member a 35 year old woman died after being crushed by a bus on Saturday night near Disneyland Paris, Seine et Marne, after being struck by a van, whose driver then fled the scene.

The victim, an employee of the resort  had left work for the day when the accident occurred shortly before 8:00 PM, in the municipality of Coupvray, said a judicial source.

The woman “was with a colleague” of 34, who had also “finished their shift,” said a Police source. “They were hit on a  pedestrian crossing near a bus stop,” the source added.

According to the testimony of employees of Disneyland Paris who were  present at the scene of the accident, the young women were reversed into by a white van, whose driver then fled.

One of them was flung to the side of the road, while the second was left lying in a bus lane,   tragically she was then hit by a bus few seconds later.  “The  bus driver that had not seen her,” said the Police source. “The road to this place is poorly lit,” said the Police source.

The young woman could not be revived and died at the scene. Her colleague, suffered from a few bruises, and was hospitalized but their condition is not thought to be serious.

An investigation has been launched to find the driver of the van. “CCTV images are being investigated ,” said the judicial source.  An appeal for witnesses could also be launched.

The Police in Chessy are taking responsibility for the investigation.

Our thoughts are with the victims and their families at this sad time.

Source: L’EXPRESS and ED92

New Year’s Eve programme at Disneyland Paris

Happy-New-Year-2015

Here is the programme of events scheduled for Disneyland Pairs for the 31st December 2014 –  New Years Eve.

Disneyland Park

12h35 Frozen: A Royal Welcome /Hommage à La Reine des Neiges
Join us as we welcome two special guests : Queen Elsa and Princess Anna!

13h00 Disney’s Christmas Parade/La Parade de Noël Disney

13h50 Frozen: A Royal Welcome /Hommage à La Reine des Neiges
Join us as we welcome two special guests : Queen Elsa and Princess Anna!

14h15 Disney’s Christmas Parade/ La Parade de Noël Disney

15h15 Frozen: A Royal Welcome /Hommage à La Reine des Neiges
Join us as we welcome two special guests : Queen Elsa and Princess Anna!

15h40 Disney’s Christmas Parade / La Parade de Noël Disney

17h10 Magical Christmas Wishes/Les Voeux Magiques de Noël

17h45 Disney Dreams®! of Christmas/Disney Dreams®! fête Noël

19h00 Disney Princess Promenade/La Promenade des Princesses Disney

20h30 Magical Christmas Wishes/Les Voeux Magiques de Noël

22h00 Magical Christmas Wishes/Les Voeux Magiques de Noël  

23h59 Countdown…

00h00 HAPPY NEW YEAR !

00H00 Disney Dreams®! Of Christmas/Disney Dreams®! fête Noël


Walt Disney Studios

19h30 – 20h00 Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars…as never seen before*!
An all-new Disney Stars’n’Cars with surprise guests who have come especially to celebrate New Year’s Eve with you!

20h30 – 21h00 Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars…as never seen before!

21h00 – 22h30 Lucky Dance Party (Backlot)
Come and join Lucky for his high-energy Dance Party. Learn how to do the latest dance steps in just 5mn and then admire the results as you are projected on to the giant video screen!

22h30 – 23h59 Walt Disney Studios Midnight Party (Backlot)
It’s time to get your groove on with our talented musicians and singers who will have you dancing to their fabulous rhythms right up until the clock strikes twelve to welcome in the New Year!

23h59 Countdown…

00h00 The Happy-ever-after New Year’s Eve Spectacular! – Fireworks
A special magical tribute to Frozen movie will accompany an explosive high tech fireworks display and welcome the year 2015 with a blast!

00H05 – 00h35 Walt Disney Studios Midnight Party (Backlot)


Disney Village

00h00 New Year fireworks (Le feu d’artifice du Nouvel An)
This year the sky above the Disney Lake will sparkle with icy colours and a magical musical medley to welcome in the new year 2015.

December 2014 Shareholders Round Table Meeting

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On 8 December a  Shareholders Round Table meeting was held at New York Hotel, Disneyland Paris with Tom Wolber, Président of Euro Disney S.A.S,  Mark Stead, Chief Financial Officer and Yohan, Senior Manager Investor Relations.

The ED92 website published a report in French about the meeting which can be found on their website, and the translation below was done by Alain of the Disney and More website.  The report below was first published on Disney and More and is reproduced here with their permission.

The meeting began with a presentation of Tom Wolber, new CEO of Euro Disney who explained his excitement to be back since two months at Disneyland Paris as 25 years ago he started his career at Euro Disney.

Here is quick reminder of  Tom Wolber previous positions at Disney:

1989-1993: Various positions at EuroDisney. He oversaw for instance the construction and opening of the Davy Crockett Ranch

1994: Head of Disney Vacation Club France

1995: He went to the US to manage California Vacation Clubs and monitoring the construction of the second ship in the Disney Cruise Line in Italy

1999-2004: Vice President of Disney-MGM Studios. He is the one who, at the opening of the WDS, discovered “Action Motor, Stunt Show Spectacular” and imported it at DW DHS.

2004-2013: Senior Vice President Operations for Disney Cruise Line. In charge of the enlargement of the activity: setting up new destinations and qualitative monitoring.

2013: Senior Vice President for DownTown Disney and the Department of WDW Sports Activities.

2014: Senior Vice President Operations for WDW Resorts and Transportation.

A first shareholder asked Tom Wolber about what is his strategy:

Tom Wolber answered that it is to continue the strategy put in place by Philippe Gas, specifying immediately that he’s talking about the one deployed since 2012. The main word is “quality”: quality of the visitor experience, but also for the stays in hotels, catering or even memories: “That’s Disney!”

Accelerate the renovations that started on the hotels, but on a shorter cycle. Focus on the basics, renovate the park and attractions over several years.  In 1993 a problem was already existing: insufficient capacity of restoration: it is essential to improve it. DLP must also invest in management computer system as those in place since 1992 no longer meet the needs and expectations of 2014. Some examples: a key to open the hotel room, coupons for restaurants, it is not anymore what DLP customers expect in 2014!

Tom said that they are currently identifying the problems one by one to complete the specific plan to implement. This plan aims to go beyond the expectations of DLP visitors to find the WOW effect because “That’s Disney!”

Another shareholder asked him directly: “Basically you are announcing the arrival of MagicBands?”

Tom answered they actually think about the MagicBands because it worked at WDW. But it is a significant investment and although Disneyland Resort Paris is on a smaller scale than WDW, it is doable but not right away because DLP needs first to catch up and comply with standards and expectations.

He takes as an example the WDS and the Disney Village that are not “complete”, these structures must be repaired and complemented but Tom also said that all is not doable in 3 years because they can’t catch up the past that fast.

He pointed out that if the recapitalization is successful, it will be more than 600 million Euros which will be invested in the Resort in the coming years. The destination will be much better in 3 years. The 25th Anniversary will be celebrated as it should be and the content will be there.

Another shareholder then asked a very long question:

It is always a pleasure to meet with the CEO, but you know that shareholders still have a critical look… For example, the Christmas decorations are very poor this year compared to 5 or 6 years ago, or the disappearance of the choirs during the Christmas period and also the parade which seems a bit short for a parade.

He also asked what is happening to the entrance of the Disney Village now without his arch, reminding that it is the first thing guests see when they’re arriving.

He also took the opportunity to ask why there is no more electrical parade, note the lack of Show at Vidéopolis or Chapparal Stage.

Finally, he complimented Cast Members who are always polite, draws attention to the quality of the catering and finished by asking what is the future for Captain EO?

Tom thanked him for this long question: “I’ll try to answer them.”

For the parade, we can be certain that things will change and evolve. He cited the Halloween Cavalcade which has further evolved this year, it has expanded, or also the new Resort decorations for that period. Then he spoke about Christmas, saying that Christmas was perhaps most impressive in the past but they will continue to improve it. He has already spoken with Daniel Delcourt to improve, for instance, the tree lighting ceremony, to make it brighter, more sparkling.

He said that in the coming year a new show is coming to Videopolis, but he will not say more about it because rumors go fast and they will soon do an announcement. He thanked the shareholder for the compliments on Cast Members and also indicated that CM too need infrastructure investments, and they’re thinking about a renewal of the CM cafeteria and their rest rooms for instance.

For the catering, he explained that the parks restaurants used before many frozen foods, but they are now looking to work more with fresh products, especially through their joint venture with the Flo group. He took as an example the Remy’s Bistrot, who in two months became the number 1 restaurant of the Resort. So even though he has no special menu, the dishes are fresh and of quality.

Want to see the future of catering at DLP,  look at what is done at Chez Remy.

A shareholder then told Tom that  “Jedi Academy” products can already be found and asked about Star Tours 2?

Tom answered that as we know, LucasFilm – and Star Wars – is now owned by TWDC and it is quite extraordinary! He reminded to the shareholders that a new movie arrives late 2015 and said that Disneyland Paris will play its role to run the Star Wars franchise: so, Jedi Academy yes, but he did not forget to say “we can do better.”

Another shareholder asked Tom what were the feedback on the Halloween evening because the visitors experience has been catastrophic with too many people (more than in other years). He added that the characters appeared over a too short period of time and at the same time, which was not a good idea.

Tom started by saying that this year there were 2,000 people more than the previous year. In addition, people stayed longer in the evening as temperatures and the weather was good. He added that next year there will be more shows, that they’ll do changes for the characters and the problem will be resolved.

The feedback was quite good and they have already identified the problems to be fixed.
They think about doing before and after hours in the hotels to try to spread a bit more the guests. They were impressed by the number of people who came disguised and the quality of their costumes. He concluded by stating “we can do better and we will do better”

A shareholder then asked why there is no dedicated website for Annual Pass Holders with the ability to check prices of hotels nights as today due to the complexity of the different offers and the prices that change all the time many of Annual Pass Holders look instead to partner hotels.

Yohan explained that this idea is already being considered as demand has already been made several times, so they’re working on it because it is a very good idea.

Tom added that for now DLP has to invest in the computer system, because at the moment it does not manage such an offer, but it will come.  They changed the website  a month ago and this is only the first phase. Other developments will happen.

A shareholder wondered about the Shareholders Club after the recapitalization. Will it still exist and what will be the entry requirements?

Tom answered that the Shareholders Club will be the same after the recapitalization. It will not change, those who were members of the Club before will always be after. The access conditions will be reviewed for new investors.

A shareholders asked Tom about the access cards renewal conditions and the number of shares to get in.

Mark Stead answered that those who were members of the Shareholders Club with 100 shares before the recapitalization – and still have a minimum of 100 shares after – will still be Club members and will be able to renew their cards.

The conditions will be changed for the new shareholders. It is estimated that the threshold will be raised to 900 shares, for example. But this figure is not final and the new conditions will be communicated after the recapitalization.

Then was asked a question about why the Shareholders Annual General Meeting was not being held at  Disneyland Paris?

Mark Stead answered. They tried to do it, and it was not possible to have it at Disneyland Paris as during this period two major groups had already booked the two convention centres with overnight stays in hotels. Cancelling  these reservations would have been a financial hit for the company but also it could have had repercussions on future bookings from the two groups who are loyal and regular customers of the Resort. He agreed that it would have been better to have done it at Disneyland Paris because it would have been easier also for them.

A shareholder asked for hotel rooms and the price of the Convention Center car park.

Tom said that, yes, there will be an offer for the nights in Disney hotels like every year.
And Mark Stead concluded by saying that they will not fund the parking lot for the shareholders.

Another shareholder said that waiting times at the attractions are now longer, and asked if DLP should not raise park admission prices during peak seasons to limit the number of guests.
 

Tom answered that the parks are victims of their success, like Tokyo, Orlando and all the Disney Resorts. The guests know that they’ll have a bit of a wait, but they’re coming too to meet Mickey, Minnie or Woody and Buzz and the Snow Queen, and all their favourite characters.

However, he agreed about the need to increase capacity by continuing investments on the long term. But also the attractions should run more efficiently, not as BTM that when it is stopped takes over an hour to restart.

They must therefore work on the refurbishment of the attractions using the latest technologies and modernizing the effects that have the most concern and then invest in maintenance and cleaning so that the rides remain at the top, and that it is part of DLP long-term vision. But in the short term, it is also possible to act by bringing back shows in the parks and increasing meet and greet with the characters.

He concluded by explaining that the idea is not to increase the park admission price but better control the promotions that are still too many and sometime available during periods when they don’t need to do promotions as the parks will be full in all cases. It is useless to do discount on the product when there is no need.

Tom reminded the shareholder that if he wants to avoid long wait, he is welcome in January and February. But DLP must also react better when there is a lot of guests, and takes as an example the first Saturday of December when Disneyland was full with restaurants in refurbishment and food carts closed. This Saturday they opened all available restaurants and bring out more characters. Which has allowed a park full of guests to better manage the guests flow and increase visitor satisfaction.

He concluded by reminding that guests who are coming in summer or Christmas time expect anyway to see many people in the resort.
A shareholder asked: You are announcing more Shows in the parks, but when?
 
Tom answered that there will soon make announcements.
Another shareholder asked if the Fantillusion will be back?
 
Tom said he can not answer for now this question (with a smile)
A shareholder pointed out that Disneyland Paris is the most beautiful Disney Resort in the world but also the more poorly maintained, specifying that the maintenance of the rides is catastrophic, with over 50% of absent effects on Phantom Manor or POTC, and also noted that the cleaning when ended the construction of Ratatouille rest rooms has not been done because there are still strokes of pencil marks.
 

Tom agreed about the beauty of the resort, saying that the Sleeping Beauty Castle is for him the most beautiful Disney castle. About maintenance, CMs do their best with what they have but recent years have been complicated because DLP had to find a delicate balance between cash flow and visitors experience and this is why the recapitalization is so important for DLP, as it will allow to find more cash flow.

But he reassured the shareholders, stating that they will take heed and in future there will be many more maintenance, cleaning and monitoring of attractions coming out of refurbishment and not only just a coat of paint on the façade.

Tom stated that Philippe Gas had already said it, and they will simply accelerate the program. Rtatouille is a very big success with more than one million visitors in 4 months. The area is beautiful and will remain so. About the rest rooms, details are important and they will fix it.
A question is then asked about Space Mountain which since Mission 2 no longer has any coherence, and the rehab of Big Thunder Mountain.
 
Tom said he can’t give us details, but again announcements will be done soon. He said that this will not be a simple coat of paint on the façade, these two projects as well as all others will be done at 100% and they will make additions and updates as soon as needed to serve the story or to give a new life to an attraction.
A question was then asked about the lighting of the park that is poorly maintained and on changing bulbs, and if it is the CMs that report this or not.
 
Tom answered that this should not be the CMs to report, and take the example of Main Street USA with its impressive number of bulbs. He explained that they are in the process of finalizing with Osram a lighting that will imitate to perfection bulbs with warm white but using LED technology, which will have a longer life and therefore will reduce a significant problem.
A question was then asked on a hypothetical return of Frontierland geysers who are not working for the last 12 years.
 
Tom reminded again that they’re working on it and that by 2017 a lot of such problems will be solved. He hopes that everything will be done at 100%. They don’t know if they will succeed but they will do their best.
A question was asked on the addition of VIP Services, kind of top restaurants or about the increase of the number of rooms allocated to different clubs in the hotels, and also organizing night tours of the park. In two words: about short, private services for people with comfortable means.
 

Tom explained that what was asked was exactly what they started to do, by instance with the addition of the Golden Forest Club at the Sequoia Lodge, or what they’re actually doing at the Newport Bay Club, and they’re thinking about it for the Hotel New York.

Also, about restaurants, not necessarily “gourmet”, but yes it must evolve and more table service quality restaurants must be find in the Parks.

Regarding the VIP services it is under consideration but Tom reminded that DLP must find a balance because we must not forget the guests who have saved a long time to pay for their stay in the parks and hotels.

He added that France, unlike other countries, does not come out very well from the financial crisis, and for instance on the year 2013, attendance was down 5%, but turnover fell only 2%.

That at the moment with Ratatouille and Frozen they have a big success. About private visits, they can think about it, but no night tours of the park, as this is the time they can do maintenance. They’re also thinking about theme dinners or theme nights in the hotels.
A question was asked about the Villages Nature and Pierre et Vacances.
 
Tom said they are happy, the first stone ceremony will happen this week, that Villages Nature is really a huge project. Tom was present during the construction of the Davy Crockett Ranch and this new project is three times the size of it. He added that they are on time and on budget, that this is an alliance between two companies, unusual on such a project, but it will be spectacular.
 
A shareholder then asked: You arrive at a key and complicated moment for the Resort, would not it be time to have a discussion on the Business Model and usefulness of small shareholders?
 
Mark Stead answered that DLP is impacted like all companies in the sector. The strategy to make renovations and repositioning the product for 2017 looks good to him.

They expect a turnaround in the French and European economy in 3-4 years and there DLP will be ready with a park 100% operational and just like new.

About the recapitalization: investments were not at the needed level, they could not do the necessary work. They needed more money. So they asked for TWDC support and to reduce the debt. They want to invest in quality, live shows, shops, the quality of the food, the staff training. Nothing will be forgotten. 40% will be invested in 3 years and the recapitalization will allow it.

They know they’re asking a lot to small shareholders, but they could not do otherwise, because it was impossible to further reduce investments. But with this recapitalization, they will finally have the means to their ambitions.

Tom added that it is important to keep in mind that the current market is not bright in France, but other economies have restarted and there is therefore more visits from guests from these countries. The economy will get better in France, it will not remain the only European country in crisis and they will be ready to welcome them.

The French market is important to them, but they will also attack with a marketing plan countries that do not come much at the resort, to get new market shares.

And, finally, TWDC realized that she has left Disneyland Paris a little bit too much alone and it was urgent to act as Disneyland Paris was their European showcase, and that the WDC would now be a real support.
A question was asked about the poor English of some CMs.
 

He said yes and they’re working on that. He returned from a European tour to recruit the 8,000 necessary seasonal CMs and have naturally targeted the countries from which are mainly coming the customers. The results were good in Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. However, in England they are a little below their expectations because there is less unemployment there.

He also reminded that they absolutely want all CMs to speak French because it is the country’s Resort and added that for the shows it is now useless to do them in five languages because technology allows translation in real time, hence the urgency to invest.
Yohan said that the schedule is already over 30 minutes and they’ll have to stop there. He thanked the shareholders for their presence.
Tom said that the shareholders asked pertinent questions, made interesting proposals and is very happy with this meeting. He noted that the audience was not composed only of shareholders, but also of people who love the company. He therefore concluded by thanking all for coming and give an appointment soon for a new meeting.

The text of this article is copyright ED92, many thanks to Disney and More for the English translation.