Report: VIP Cinema seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

The Reuters news agency reported Tuesday that VIP Cinema Seating in New Albany has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company, thought to be one of New Albany’s fastest-growing industries, has retained a low public profile since its founding about 12 years ago. However, the company has expanded to the point of using space for manufacturing, warehousing and administration in at least three different sections of the city. As early as 2015 they reported using 900,000 square feet of space here.

Their publically-announced employment this past year was 469, according to the Union County Development Association.

The reasons given for the action include reduced movie attendance, lower number of new screens and, to a degree, the company’s own success. Their luxury cinema seats are lasting longer than expected before needing replacement.

The idea of providing luxury reclining theater seats was considered risky at the time and although it reduced the overall number of seats in a venue, the company found the improved seating led to higher attendance.

Their seats can be found as close by as Tupelo and as far away as China, company officials have said. Reuters reported that VIP has 70 percent of the United States luxury seating market alone.

The company reported it had sold more than 500,000 seats by 2017.

Reuters said the company, with corporate headquarters in St. Louis, is handing majority control over to private equity firm H. I. G. Capital, which should allow it to get rid of long-term debt and adjust to the changing market. The hope was to come out from Chapter 11 protection in April and retain 373 jobs.

Here is the link to the original Reuters story:

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