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Decline of movie theaters leads St. Louis company into bankruptcy

In its bankruptcy filing, VIP said it hopes to eliminate $178 million in long-term debt by handing control to its lenders and private equity firm

ST. LOUIS — A manufacturer of movie theater seats that moved its corporate offices to St. Louis last year filed for bankruptcy Tuesday.

VIP Cinema, described as the world's largest manufacturer of luxury reclining movie theater seats, said declining box office receipts and slow screen growth at movie theaters had led to older theater seats lasting longer than expected, prompting it to file for Chapter 11 reorganization, Reuters reported.

According to its website, VIP Cinema launched as a residential furniture manufacturer in New Albany, Mississippi, but pivoted four yeas later by launching a luxury reclining theater seat. It expanded in 2015 to a 900,000-square-foot complex. It opened global offices in the United Kingdom and Dubai last year, while also relocating its corporate headquarters to St. Louis. The company's website doesn't explain the reason for the St. Louis move.

In its bankruptcy filing, VIP said it hopes to eliminate $178 million in long-term debt by handing control to its lenders and private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, which would control a 51% stake in the company, according to the Reuters report. H.I.G. invested $62.5 million in VIP in 2017.

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VIP Cinema Seating is the original cinema seating pioneer. We are proud to partner with some of the leading theater parters in the world.

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