Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A tale of two bankruptcies

Bally Home Fitness is belly up again. After a prepackaged 11 last year they filed another one today, with the goal of conserving cash in a sale scenario or a reorganization.

The gym business is utterly cutthroat competition. You have the higher-end places that can charge (a little) more but have fewer members, and you have the others (such as Bally) that rely on large numbers and low fees. In either event the gyms rely heavily on additional services to make more money and in this get the picture. With those numbers, it is hard to make things work. But Bally's been around a long time.

Kimball Hill Homes is also in Chapter 11 and has been since the spring. Alas, the local builder is calling it quits and winding down its operations after a prospective buyer walked away. The company is emphasizing that this will be an orderly process, with all existing construction being finished. This is made sadder by the death this summer of David Hill, the founder of the company named after his father.


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