According to key executives, Audio Visual Services Corporation (AVSC), Long Beach, California, and its domestic subsidiaries have emerged from the Chapter 11 reorganization process relatively unscathed, and without major changes in the long-term industry giant’s core business units.

AVHQ provided CanvasMaster technology to production company Pacific Visions for image creation on the large, center screen during a conference for the Reading By 9 organization at the Los Angeles Convention Center in April.(Photo Courtesy AVHQ)

AVSC announced last December that it would file a Chapter 11 petition under the United States Bankruptcy Code, and that it expected to emerge from the reorganization process by April. According to Robert Ellis, AVSC’s chairman/CEO, the company finished the reorganization process in March, ahead of schedule, and has been conducting business as usual throughout that period, “with little or no impact on our customers.”

“The Chapter 11 filing was not driven by poor business performance, it was driven by the amount of debt we took on during our acquisition phase in the late 1990’s,” Ellis recently told SRO. “The reorganization process was designed to replace that debt with equity, and as such, it did not change our plans to expand the business. We came out of it with a debt structure that is manageable, and that gives us more cash to go forward.”

As a result, Ellis says, the company will maintain its core divisions. Those divisions include Presentation Services, a major provider of audio-visual services in luxury hotels, resorts and conference centers; Audio Visual Headquarters (AVHQ), a provider of high-end, audio-visual services and equipment to the corporate, entertainment, large presentation, and trade-show industries; AVHQ Show Solutions (formerly AVHQ Staging), which specializes in the planning and execution of sophisticated, large venue events requiring complex staging, sound, and video projection services; AVHQ Rental Services, which focuses on local clients requiring presentation services for smaller groups; and AVHQ Meeting Services, which focuses on the association meeting market.

“We’ve refinanced each of the business teams, and we expect to expand our rental locations at some point in the future,” says Ellis. “We are also focusing on growth areas in Canada and Europe for the hotel service areas that have already grown so strong for us in the United States.”

Ellis adds that, for the company’s high-profile AVHQ unit, “industrial events will remain the bread-and-butter of that business.” Although AVHQ serviced such high-profile broadcast events as the Academy Awards for many years, Ellis and other company officials say AVHQ is now focusing mainly on a strategy that revolves around “corporate events in rooms and auditoriums, with audiences anywhere from 25 to 10,000 people at a time.”

Technology Investments

Doug Hunt, Senior VP of AVHQ Show Solutions, emphasizes that even in today’s tight economy, such corporate work represents “better quality revenue” for companies in the audio-visual world. He also emphasizes that AVHQ managed to “work steadily” on major events for corporate clients like Microsoft, Intel, and others all throughout the AVSC reorganization period.

“The reorganization had little impact on AVHQ’s daily work,” says Hunt. “During that period, we continued to expand our technology inventory. For instance, we bought another quarter-million-dollar CanvasMaster system, which means that AVHQ now has four of those systems. New technology, like CanvasMaster and ‘line array’ audio tools are central to what we do, so we’ve been investing heavily on those tools during this period.”

CanvasMaster is a product of Vista Control Systems, Phoenix. The system is a PowerPoint-based playback device for large-screen projection with edge-blending capabilities, powered by CanvasMaster digital servers, Vista Control switchers, and Folsom image scalers.

Michael Goldman is senior editor of SRO and Millimeter magazines.