Posted Thursday, August 23, 2001 5:12 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Vekoma, manufacturer of boomerangs, suspended looping coasters (SLC's) and Flying Dutchman coasters, yesterday filed for bankruptcy protection. Sources who work with Vekoma say that their cash flow problems stem from non-payment on their giant inverted boomerangs (Deja Vu), two Flying Dutchman coasters (Batwing and X-Flight) and two other coasters. These new coasters at various Six Flags parks have been delayed most of the season or are not running at full capacity, due in part to alleged technical problems.
Update: Additional information about the effect on Jazzland's new SLC can be found at The Times-Picayune.
I bet that Six Flags when they do pay for the Deja Vus will pay a reduced price for losses that they incurred due to them opening late or not until next season...
"It's Deja Vu all over again." - Yogi Berra
On an observer side note, seeing that Jazzland is having financial problems as well, I wonder if they will be paying cash or financing the SLC through Vekoma.
Just remember kids.....financing customers yorself can always cause problems getting your money...so NEVER NEVER NEVER finance a customer, let banking institutuions do that, since you'll always get YOUR money
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
*** This post was edited by Taipan on 8/23/2001. ***
When a small park looks to buy a major steel coaster, Vekoma is the first company they'd turn to. What local park can actually afford a B&M? Now, though, they'll be stuck buying used rides, woodies from CCI, or maybe trying to get a coaster cheap from Arrow.
Besides, Vekoma brought a lot of originality to the coaster industry. Boomerangs are unique rides, and invertigos are even better. I'm sure the Super Invertigos, once they open, will be considered just as good as Intamin Impulses, which everyone seems to love. Plus, they're Flying Dutchmans are fantastic rides. B&M may have their own version coming out, but because of a deal with Alton Towers we probably won't see any in the States for several years. And from what I can tell by looking at the layout of AIR, B&M is going to be conservative in terms of inversions.
It's never a good thing to see a company go bankrupt, especially not a company so important to the theme park/roller coaster industry. I, for one, hope they manage to pull through.
If filing for bankruptcy meant you HAD to go out of business, California power company PG&E should have been burned to the ground by now.
On the other hand, as someone mentioned above, it doesn't make much sense being a creditor for something that expensive. At the same time, their engineering obviously leaves something to be desired. Deja Vu and the Flying Dutchman are the joke of the industry this year.
It's not a good thing for them to go away, however. A boomerang is still a nice addition to a small park, and the rides like Woodstock Express and Reptar are the most outstanding kid/family rides I've ever seen, much better than that lame and boring Zierer stuff. Parks need those.
We'll have to see what this means for the company long-term. Their cash flow problems are the least of their worries... they have a reputation they have to beat.
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March 6, 2001
Vekoma Redefines Corporate Split to Meet Market Demands
Vlodrop, The Netherlands - In response to increased competition within the entertainment industry, Vekoma is redefining its corporate structure in an effort to meet growing demands. While there has, for some time, been a distinction between Vekoma Manufacturing and Vekoma International, the two will operate even more independently under a new plan designed to better benefit customers.
Roger Houben, Vekoma President, will head Vekoma International in an effort to fully concentrate on providing unparalleled sales and customer service, designing new ride concepts, and handling overall marketing efforts. Managing Director, Dave Bebelaar will now handle the daily operations of Vekoma Manufacturing, which will focus solely on the production of rides.
The plan, which is in initial stages, will be put into effect within six months and require approximately 60 employees to either leave or find new positions within the company. Vekoma Manufacturing will remain in Vlodrop, while Vekoma International will relocate to a more easily accessible location in The Netherlands.
“The size of the company and its operations were growing so large that we had to make the split to work more efficiently,’ Houben said. “Our goal in the end is to better arm ourselves to fulfill customer demands by spending more time with each and, ultimately, create even stronger relationships,” he said.
*** This post was edited by olov on 8/23/2001. ***
Zero G Roll said:
"They'll be stuck buying .... woodies from CCI"
"Vekoma brought a lot of originality to the coaster industry"
Dosen't sound too bad to me.Cookie Cutter coasters aren't original. Companies that build there rides to match the terrain or look of the park are original. Vekoma dosen't make world-class coasters. They don't build original coasters like Raptor, Shivering Timbers, or Magnum.
To use a consumer example, suppose you had a house built and the house couldn't pass building inspection for you to move in. Neither you nor your mortgage lender would be about to give the contractor any payments still due.
As for Vekoma's current situation. They are building a record number of coasters this year for any modern coaster company, 19 that I know of. Several of these coasters also are very innovative. ( Did you know that there is a computer network of sorts on the Batwing trains?) This seems to have left them overextended both financially and technically. It's the old story of uncontrolled growth leading to uncontrolled disaster. No, I'm not happy about this, both the public and Vekoma suffer. I'm just trying to look at what happened.
I agree with Jeff about some of Vekoma's offerings being valuable. If Vekoma were to disappear, that would be a BAD thing overall, not a good thing, even if I'm not personally a big fan of theirs.
As for Six Flags not paying them yet, I can't blame them. Deja Vu's are FINALLY getting ready to open? The Dutchmen still aren't running to full capacity with the reclining-on-the-lift?
The plan, which is in initial stages, will be put into effect within six months and require approximately 60 employees to either leave or find new positions within the company.
Vekoma had its faults but was innovative and changed many things in the coasterbusiness.
Rides not operating at SF has more to do with SF maintenance.
Changes of small parks getting a coaster are drastically reduced.
Very unlikely Vekoma has to lay off 200 people. They only employ 250.
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