Bowling is a popular American pastime, but the world's largest bowling-alley operator has filed for protection under bankruptcy law for the second time in 11 years.
AMF Bowling Worldwide Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia. The company, which is based in Virginia, operates more than 300 bowling centers and receives tens of millions of visitors annually. In a press release issued by the company, the group explained that it had reached an agreement with the majority of its first-lien lenders and the landlords of most of its bowling centers that would enable it to restructure through a first-lien lender-led debt-for-equity conversion.
AMF CEO and CFO Steve Satterwhite said that the agreement will enable the company to recapitalize their balance sheets and greatly eliminate their debt load and operating costs.
"This is a necessary next step in our strategic plan to strengthen AMF financially and operationally for the future," Satterwhite said. "Over the past several years, amid adverse economic conditions that hit our core customer base hard, we continued to strengthen our operations, expand our league and open play offerings, and improve the customer experience. However, we must right-size our capital structure to gain the financial flexibility to improve our bowling centers and make other long-term investments that will help ensure AMF's future profitability and success."
AMF filed for bankruptcy protection previously in 2001, but quickly emerged from Chapter 11 proceedings in 2002 after giving unsecured creditors 7.5 percent of its new stock.
In documents filed with the court, the company listed assets and debt ranging between $100 and $500 million, according to Bloomberg. The group said it hopes to leave Chapter 11 bankruptcy in roughly five months. During the interim period, AMF also noted that it plans to keep its bowling centers open.