September 6, 2007
Lowndes Co. -- A South Georgia theme park will be sold as part of a 2006 bankruptcy filing.
The group filed for Chapter 11 protection last September, citing damages to Cypress Gardens from three hurricanes in 2004, and a $25 million insurance claim that had not been paid.
Here is the official Press release from the company--
Adventure Parks Group, LLC Explores Sale to
Emerge from Chapter 11 Protection
Parks seek new financial backing on September 25th
Valdosta, GA- In a move to secure the futures of Wild Adventures Theme Park, Valdosta, GA, and Cypress Gardens Adventure Park, Winter Haven, FL, as well as successfully move out of bankruptcy, Adventure Parks Group, LLC (APG) will place both parks up for private sale on September 25, 2007.
"The potential sale of Cypress Gardens Adventure Park and Wild Adventure Theme Park will allow the parks to emerge from Chapter 11 protection with a minimum amount of debt," states Kent Buescher, President/CEO. "It will also allow both parks the opportunity to continue to serve our guests and provide quality, family entertainment at an affordable price for many years to come."
Since voluntarily filing for Chapter 11 Protection in the United State Bankruptcy Court on September 11, 2006, APG has been working diligently to craft a reorganization plan that will allow the most benefit to its creditors. The filing was a direct result of the losses sustained by the company due to the extensive damage caused to Cypress Gardens by Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne in the summer of 2004, prior to the park's reopening. The devastation delayed the opening and forced the company to find additional financing to continue reconstruction. A subsequent failure to reach a settlement claim with the insurance company and its broker made it increasingly difficult to meet financial obligations and ultimately led to the filing for reorganization.
In March of this year, as the insurance settlement continued, the company began to seek other options for the future of the parks, in the event that the claim could not be settled and other investors could not be found. The private sale on September 25th is the result of months of striving to find the best working solution for all parties involved.
Stipulations are in place to ensure that park guests and employees will not be affected by the outcome. Guests will continue to enjoy all the entertainment value they expect without any interruptions. Passports are being honored as usual, as are all other customer programs and policies, to include concert reserve seats and group tickets. Employees will continue to report to work as usual and there are no layoffs planned.
"I am pleased to report the sale process will secure a bright future for Wild Adventures and Cypress Gardens, as well as our many guests and the communities we proudly serve," states Buescher.
Adventure Parks Group legal and financial advisors are Stone & Baxter, LP and Alvarez & Marsal, LLC, respectively. More information about Adventure Parks Group is available on the Internet at the parks' websites, www.wildadventures.net and www.cypressgardens.com.
Adventure Parks Group, LLC, through its subsidiaries, operates two of the largest regional, family-oriented amusement parks in the Southeast. Wild Adventures is a 250-acre theme park located in Valdosta, GA that has been owned and operated by the current management team since 1991. Cypress Gardens Adventure Park is a 150-acre park that has been under control of APG since 2004, although it was originally founded in 1936. Both parks entertained more that 1.1 million guests each in 2006, placing them firmly amongst the Top 50 North American Amusement Parks.