On Thursday 2 March 2017 twenty-one Euro Disney S.C.A. shareholders met with senior executives of the company at Disney’s Hotel New York, at Disneyland Paris for a Round Table meeting where the resorts financial results and the development strategy of the company were discussed.
APPAED (Association des Petits Porteurs d’Actions EuroDisney / Euro Disney Small Shareholders’ Association) was in attendance and here is a copy of their report of the meeting translated from French.
The following Euro Disney executives were in attendance to answer shareholders questions:
Catherine POWELL, President of Euro Disney
Mark STEAD, Senior Vice President and Cheif Financal Officer
Gilles DOBELLE, Managing Vice-President and General Counsel
Catherine POWELL introduced the session by presenting her personal journey. Arriving at the head of Disneyland Paris for eight months, she has observed the functioning of this enterprise difficult to manage. It was noted that, for cyclical political and economic difficulties, it is difficult to control the future of the Company.
The state of the treasury induced a choice: either to stop the investments or to restart the
One solution is to have a better responsiveness and a certain agility: take control over and try to attract new visitors through complementary activities and little investments (like the Russian Christmas). We must aim for profitability.
This goes through:
– Better understanding the consumer
– Strive for excellence
– Build on the Cast Members and encourage them to take responsibility
– A distribution of the domains in the management team
The Q & A session then launched.
A first shareholder thanked Disney for having invested for 30 years in the Parks in Paris. There is as a quality requirement because the proposed prices are high. But it is an extraordinary experience. It must remain “magic” and it is necessary to use more the image of Mickey for France in Europe and the world.
One speaker asked what would really be put in place to achieve a level of excellence that is struggling to settle.
Catherine POWELL replied that the work had already begun. For example, some consumers by age or country to create targeted events at reasonable prices to attract new visitors.
A question about the future takeover bid is being asked.
Answer: “We can not speak for The Walt Disney Company (TWDC). What is important is that it will help pay down the debt and make investments.
A shareholder asks how the relationship with the Small Shareholders will continue after the takeover by the TWDC. What will become of the Shareholders Club and its benefits?
Gilles DOBELLE replied that the link will continue with what the Small Shareholders represent, members of the Shareholders Club (approximately 3,600 members).
Catherine POWELL added that there is a reflection to launch something: it will be communicated during the General Assembly.
A participant asked if we could exchange our actions, like the Prince against DIS shares (Walt Disney Company shares)
Catherine POWELL replies that she can not speak for TWDC
Another participant asked whether from a legal point of view and to maintain equality of all shareholders, TWDC is not required to propose the same to all.
Gilles DOBELLE replied that TWDC had lawyers and that they had studied the operation well.
Mark STEAD added that this would be part of the mission of the independent expert chosen by the Council to verify that the transaction is fair.
A shareholder said that two years ago, the Supervisory Board advised to sell the shares for €1.25 and that now, while the financial situation is much worse and that Euro Disney Associés is no longer worth anything, the proposed price will be €2.00 Two years ago, shareholders were asked to put 20 times their starting investment to regain their level. Many did not participate. You continue to flout the Shareholders.
Mark STEAD reacts by saying that EDA is empty because of the depreciation of assets. The legal accounting obligation. It is the book value that is equal to zero.
The shareholder: “You have deliberately blacked out the situation. You report a deficit you are going to still be able to postpone “.
Catherine POWELL: “Treasury problems are recurring”
The Shareholder: “The problems arise from the fact that one rushes to repay the debt. The
Balance sheet is lightened, but the Treasury is gone. If TWDC wanted it, it could provide the Treasury and accompany us. At the moment when we are outside, she begins to help ”
Mark STEAD concludes “we can not speak for TWDC”.
Another shareholder asks why he never tried to renegotiate the charges, the enormous fees for licensing, management and other technical costs.
Catherine POWELL replied that royalties correspond to property rights. It’s the business-model of TWDC – they charge user fees.
Mark STEAD adds “how can you say that we have never tried to renegotiate conventions, you have no proof”
From that point on, the questions were about the new annual passes.
– You pay more and more with fewer and fewer benefits
– The polls were biased because one had to choose between plague or cholera, so one had to choose the worst proposal
– You create a “gas plant” because if everyone takes an Infinity, it will soon be unmanageable, especially for priority areas, swimming pool …
– Fidelity is not taken into account
– The children were not taken into account, it would require a Pass Family
– If we lose the Pass, we are charged for its replacement and in addition we must wait at least three weeks to receive the new one resulting in a financial loss
Catherine POWELL has noticed everything and they will investigate it all.
To finish a few questions about characters who do not speak English, about the price of the Brunch at the Inventions restaurant, a disappointment at the California Grill. Catherine POWELL informs that they will collaborate with Franck SAVOY, the son of Guy SAVOY.
The last questions concerned the renovation of Cinémagique and the transformation of Snow White in Meet & Greet or Princess of a Day. Changes are currently under discussion.
One shareholder asked if they could not embellish the Disney Village, enlarge it.
In the end of the Round Table we did not learn much, but it gave us the knowledge that Catherine POWELL is very warm and good at communicating.