Struggling exhibitor Loews Cineplex has extended its credit agreement with the syndicate of principal creditors, from December 8 through January 26, 2001.

The extension allows the company meet its anticipated obligations. However, Loews Cineplex had to agree to provide additional collateral. In a statement, the company said it will continue discussions with lenders and equity holders to address its cash needs beyond January.

"There can, of course, be no assurance that the Company will be able to reach such an agreement with its lenders," the statement said. "If the Company is unsuccessful in its negotiations, the lending group could accelerate the maturity of these loans and the Company could face the prospect of a restructuring under bankruptcy proceedings."

Last week, US ratings agency Moody's Investor Service downgraded Loews Cineplex's debt ratings to low junk status. The company operates more than 2,900 screens in almost 400 theatres in North America and Europe.