Saturday, August 29, 2015

Philadelphia Orchestra asks for loan

The Philadelphia Orchestra Association is seeking a loan to help fund operations through the end of its bankruptcy case.

Philadelphia Orchestra asks for loan


The Philadelphia Orchestra Association is seeking a loan to help fund operations through the end of its bankruptcy case.

The Association has applied to U.S. Bankruptcy Court for permission to assume $3.1 million in debt to pay operating costs, including salaries and vendor bills.

“Unless these expenses are paid, the Debtor will be forced to cease operations, which would likely result in irreparable harm to its organization and jeopardize the Debtor’s ability to reorganize and maximize value for all interested parties,” the Association states in papers filed Wednesday.

Such financing — called debtor in possession financing, or DIP — is standard in bankruptcy, and the fact that the Association has not had to apply for a loan until five months into the case speaks to the paucity of unpaid bills before and after the orchestra’s April 16 chapter 11 petition.

“Since the commencement of these cases, the Debtor has successfully managed cash so as to delay the need for the Debtor to access funds from a DIP facility,” the filing says. “The Debtor filed its bankruptcy case to streamline operations that have become uneconomical and to restructure leases, contracts and other operational agreements.”

Orchestra bankruptcy attorney Lawrence G. McMichael echoed that concept: “On the date of the petition there was not a large number of payables. Our problem is not unpaid bills. Our problem is pension and lease obligations.”

The action — which requires the approval of bankruptcy judge Eric. L. Frank — will add to the orchestra’s growing bankruptcy tab.

The proposed loan, from Sun Federal Credit Union, comes with an interest rate of 7¼ percent (9¼ percent if the Association defaults or moves to chapter 7 bankruptcy), and closing costs of $15,500. The loan would likely be repaid in several months.

As collateral, the Association would put up its musical instruments and orchestral library of scores and instrumental parts, property, among other tangible and intangible possessions.

Inquirer Classical Music Critic
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About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

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