UPDATE 1-AMC rules out imminent bankruptcy, shares jump

(Adds background, updates share price)

Jan 25 (Reuters) - AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc said on Monday that any talk of an imminent bankruptcy is “completely off the table” after the cash-strapped movie theater chain raised an additional $917 million to help cushion the blow from the pandemic.

The company’s shares, which have lost nearly half their value in the last 12 months as it was forced to shut theaters during the virus outbreak, jumped as much as 39% to $4.88.

While AMC Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron allayed investor fears by repeatedly raising fresh funds, the business has still not reached pre-pandemic levels.

AMC, which also operates Britain’s Odeon cinemas, has reopened most of its theaters but new social distancing measures and a wider malaise over visiting public places have hit the company hard.

The COVID-19 pandemic devastated the film business in 2020, and ticket sales in the United States and Canada sunk 80%.

“Looking ahead, for AMC to succeed over the medium term, we are going to need for much of the general public in the U.S. and abroad to be vaccinated,” Aron said.

Nearly 22 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the U.S. as of Sunday morning, with the initial doses being given to health workers and older citizens.

New York-based AMC said it had raised capital by issuing new shares, while executing commitment letters for more debt.

AMC added it was estimating that its “financial runway has been extended deep into 2021”, but warned investors on the uncertainty of its future cash needs. (Reporting by Eva Mathews and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Shounak Dasgupta)