Austrian promoter Richard Hoermann’s bid to file his Event Service for Chapter 11 protection looks to have been scuppered by the Vienna Stadthalle arena, which appears reluctant to do business with a company in receivership and unwilling to discuss it.
Hoermann and official receiver Dr. Walter Kainz had worked out a schedule for Event Service GmbH to be filed as "Ausgleich," roughly the Austrian legal equivalent of Chapter 11, which would have resulted in the creditors being offered 40 percent of what they’re owed over a two-year period.
But now Hoermann and Kainz are both telling Pollstar that the company can’t keep to the arrangement without the income it would have earned from promoting Stadthalle shows, leaving the promoter with no option other than letting the business tank.
Promoting shows in Vienna would be next to impossible without the use of the city’s most prestigious venue, which can handle shows from 2,000 to 16,000 capacity.
This means all creditors are likely to end up with only 20 percent, while another Hoermann company called Austrian Entertainment GmbH, which he set up in January 2006 to promote local acts, will now handle his international shows as well.
The Stadthalle’s legal department declined to comment on whether it refused to sanction an Event Service hire for next spring’s Harlem Globetrotters date or whether its venue policy is not to deal with companies who have filed for Chapter 11.
GM Peter Gruber said the venue has no reason not to work with Hoermann and confirmed that his Austrian Entertainment GmbH has shows in the diary.
But he declined to be specific about his company’s stance on Hoermann’s Event Services, or say how he thought creditors may feel when they find out why their payouts have been halved.
The Stadhalle is not believed to be on Event Services’ creditors list, and Hoermann says he doesn’t owe it any money.
Event Services will go down for an estimated euro 420,000, with euro 300,000 owed to the various Austrian tax authorities and the remaining euro 120,000 to two so far unnamed suppliers working in the production and promotion businesses.
Hoermann, who ran the company as Concerts.at but changed it to Event Services two months before it went under, says the problems arose when his July 13 show with George Michael bombed, pulling 9,500 to the Stadthalle. The date had already been downgraded from the 25,000-capacity outdoor site at Danube Island.
That meant he couldn’t pay the VAT bill that was due that month and he turned to his lawyers for a possible solution.
The company filed for "Ausgleich" at Vienna’s Handelsgericht (commercial court) October 17. Kainz says the full bankruptcy will likely be concluded at the end of February.
The shows Hoermann will now be promoting under his Austrian Entertainment umbrella include E A V – Austria’s main comedy band – on a national tour in the spring, a run that finishes at the Stadthalle on April 13th.
The international attractions include Scooter, WWE Wrestlemania, Zucchero, Status Quo and what at the moment is a one-off with Santana at Bratislava Stadium on June 26.