AMF Bowling Worldwide Inc., the world's largest bowling operator, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to restructure its mounting debt.
The Hanover County-based company said this morning that it filed a pre-arranged petition with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond.
AMF said it expects completing the restructuring process and exiting Chapter 11 within five months.
AMF operates a location in Lynchburg near the intersection of U.S. 29 and Candlers Mountain Road, near James T. Davis Paint Center.
The company said it will continue its normal business operations during the Chapter 11 process, and its bowling centers will maintain normal operating schedules.
AMF said it has reached an agreement with a majority of its secured first lien lenders and the landlord of a majority of its bowling centers to restructure it finances, which the company said will result in the elimination of a significant amount of its outstanding debt.
That will provide AMF with the financial resources to invest in improvements to its bowling centers and other growth initiatives, the company said.
“This is a necessary next step in our strategic plan to strengthen AMF financially and operationally for the future,” Steve Satterwhite, AMF's chief financial officer and chief operating officer, said in a statement.
“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,” he said. “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.”
This is the second time AMF had filed for reorganization. It did so in July 2001 and emerged with a confirmed Chapter 11 plan in February 2002.