Global cruise and travel company files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The damage from the covid pandemic continues to wreak havoc on companies that had otherwise been successful. In retail, that effect was obvious. People could not/did not shop at certain types of stores for many months and that pushed those stores into taking on more debt.

Party City and David’s Bridal, two companies that survived a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, suffered from people simply not having parties or getting married, You don’t need a wedding dress when you have postponed your marriage until you can hold a proper event and you don’t need party supplies to celebrate in lockdown.

Related: Analyst: Beloved mall retailer facing Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Other retailers were not as lucky. Bed Bath & Beyond, Tuesday Morning, and Christmas Tree Shops simply ran out of cash because they didn’t have any meaningful sales for many months. During the quarantine periods when the American public was mostly confined to their homes, people might go to grocery stores and other essential retailers, but they weren’t shopping for fun.

They also didn’t need new clothes and the various household goods sold by those three chains  — all of which were liquidated after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings — and that created a situation those retailers could not recover from. 

Retailers, however, were not the only brands that suffered. People also did not travel during that period. It wasn’t just people not taking vacations. It was also Americans not having to commute to work because their offices were closed.

The lack of leisure travel and the lack of commuters created a situation that forced a company that’s a veritable American institution into bankruptcy.

Hornblower runs ferry services in multiple cities.

Image source: Pixabay.

Travel and cruise company files bankruptcy 

Some companies operate in plain sight but the public may not know their brand name. That’s the case with Hornblower Group, a company that operates American Queen Voyages, City Experiences, and Journey Beyond.

“The brand heritage of our organization dates back nearly 100 years, with the establishment of Boston Harbor Cruises in Massachusetts in 1926; on the west coast of the United States, Hornblower Group began in 1980. Across our growing portfolio, we have a long-standing history of expertise and innovation and have continually redefined the marine hospitality industry,” the company said on its website.

At the time of its Chapter 11 filing, the company operates in 125 U.S. cities and 111 countries. Its products include everything from transportation services to overnight cruises, and other water-based experiences.

The company has its U.S. headquarters in San Francisco and operates Journey Beyond, a leading experiential travel group in Australia. 

“Headquartered in Adelaide, Journey Beyond offers its guests with one-of-a-kind experience from its portfolio of offerings including trains, like the popular Ghan, planes, lodges in the Outback, Great Barrier Reef underwater accommodations, Melbourne Skydeck experience, and more,” the company shared.

Hornblower has a bankruptcy plan

Hornblower has entered bankruptcy as a way to sell the brand with its investors taking a larger stake in the company.

“Under the terms of the agreement, funds managed by Strategic Value Partners, LLC (SVP) and its affiliates, a global alternative investment firm, will acquire majority ownership of Hornblower and provide a significant equity investment in the business. Crestview Partners will retain a significant minority position in Hornblower and become the sole owner of Journey Beyond,” the company shared in a press release.

Under the terms of the deal, Hornblower will receive $121 million in new financing from SVP-managed funds and Crestview, and the Company’s total debt will be reduced by approximately $720 million.

In the company’s bankruptcy filing, it reported its debt at between $1-10 billion.

As part of the bankruptcy process, Hornblower plans to attempt to sell its overnight cruise business, American Queen Voyages. If a sale can’t be made, the company plans to wind that business down.

The company specifically cited the covid pandemic and business not recovering from that period as behind the decision to sell or close American Queen Voyages.

“These collective actions will enable Hornblower to move ahead with a more focused portfolio, stronger balance sheet, and additional financial flexibility, well-positioned to continue driving growth in its core land- and water-based experiences businesses. These core businesses are delivering excellent results and serving thousands of guests every day,” the company shared.

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