Six Flags, Inc. is to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in order to restructure its $2.4 billion debt mountain.
The company runs 13 theme parks across North America and Mexico. It has struggled for years with interest payments on its massive debts, which were built up when previous owners Premier Parks invested hundreds of millions in expanding the chain.
What does this mean for readers planning trips to Six Flags parks this season?
- Six Flags' park will continue to operate normally during the bankruptcy protection period. Guests visiting this summer shouldn't notice any difference.
- If a deal can't be reached then the company will be liquidated and its assets sold off. In that scenario, the fate of each park could be different. Profitable parks may be quickly sold on to new owners, who won't be saddled with existing debt. Others may be closed for good, with the rides being removed and sold off. However, this is seen as unlikely as the company has pre-negotiated a deal aimed at a swift exit from bankruptcy.
CEO Mark Shapiro claims the Six Flags is aiming to shed $1.8 billion of debt, leaving $600 million - a servicable amount given the firm's current income.
"No one should be confused about what a bankruptcy process means for Six Flags. Following a record year of performance in 2008, which completed the three-year turnaround of our system-wide park operation, this action to clean up the balance sheet paves the way for a full revival of the company. We will emerge from this process stronger and more competitive than ever.” said Shapiro in an e-mail to staff.
TPT will keep readers updated as the Six Flags situation develops - but for now the message from the company is that it is "business as usual".