November 16, 2000:
Best Country, Sportsmanship Awards Announced At 2000 AMF Bowling World Cup; Thailand To Host 2001 Edition
11/16/2000 - AMF
LONDON, ENGLAND - England, bolstered by top-eight performances by both its representatives, won the Bent Petersen Best Country Award at the 36th annual AMF Bowling World Cup, held October 15-21 in Lisbon, Portugal, October 15-21.
The Best Country Award goes to the nation whose bowlers place highest in the tournament on a combined basis. Finland and England each sent two bowlers into the two-day single-elimination phase of the competition reserved for the top eight scorers in each division. However, both Kimmo Lehtonen and Heidi Larnia of Finland lost in the quarterfinal round, while England's Kirsten Penny offset Steve Thornton's quarterfinal ouster by advancing to the semifinal round. Penny finished tied for third place with Diane Buchanan of Canada.
The award is named for Bent Petersen, long-time tournament manager of the AMF Bowling World Cup who retired from the company in 1998.
On an individual basis, Seble Dejene of Ethiopia and Daniel Falconi of Mexico were selected Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year by the 155 bowlers who competed in Lisbon. Dejene, an 18-year-old college student who lives in Addis Ababa and is coached by her father, Dejene Hajiemariam, finished last in the 67-woman field in her first World Cup, far below her 167 average but tops among her peers in congeniality.
Falconi, a 33-year-old bowling pro shop owner and coach from Mexico City, placed 19th in his fourth World Cup try with a 212.0 average. Dany and sister Claudia made up the only brother-sister combination competing in this year's World Cup.
Champion Tomas Leandersson of Sweden and runnerup Tore Torgersen of Norway earned the men's High Game Awards for the perfect game each rolled during tournament week. Diane Buchanan of Canada, who also had a 300 game, won the women's High Game Award.
Olle Sahlgren, senior vice president of AMF Bowling Products, announced that the 2001 AMF Bowling World Cup will be held November 4-10 in Pattaya, Thailand. It will be the second time Pattaya and bowling proprietor Sonny Lim host AMF's annual international sports classic, and the third time the Bowling World Cup has traveled to Thailand. Bangkok was the site of the 1979 championship, won by Philippe Dubois of France and Bong Coo of the Philippines. The 1990 Pattaya edition was won by Linda Graham of the USA and Tom Hahl of Finland.
Pattaya, located on Thailand's east coast, is a two-hour drive from Bangkok and widely regarded as one of Asia's premier beach resort areas. The 2001 tournament will be conducted at Lim's PS Bowl Pattaya, a 32-lane center scheduled to open November 16, 2000.
AMF Bowling Implements Organizational Changes To Strengthen Operating Performance And Reduce Costs
11/16/2000 - AMF
AMF Bowling today announced that, in conjunction with its financial restructuring, the company is implementing strategic organizational changes in each of its major businesses to strengthen its operations and enhance its financial performance. These changes include new initiatives in AMF's U.S. Bowling Centers business to streamline the organization and refocus on the bowling center manager, and several senior management changes in Bowling Products.
Estimated annual cost savings of $8 million are expected from these changes. Over half of the savings will be used to fund new U.S. Bowling Center initiatives in training, as well as improved compensation and benefits programs for center managers and staff.
"I believe the changes we are making today will create the right organizational structure to drive profitable growth in the future," said Roland Smith, AMF President and Chief Executive Officer. "These improvements should also help facilitate our discussions with creditors and lenders about ways to restructure and reduce the company's long-term debt."
Bowling Center Initiatives
Smith said, that during 2000, the top 60% of AMF's U.S. bowling centers were up 9% in revenue over prior year, and outperformed the remaining 40% by 16 percentage points of revenue and 8 points of EBITDA margin. "We found that the primary factor in a center's performance was the quality and skill of the manager and staff," he added. "Our objectives are to ensure that all managers and staff receive the training necessary to be successful, to retain AMF's better performing center managers, and to recruit strong manager candidates."
As part of the focus on center management, AMF will implement the following initiatives:
-- Establish a center manager training school in Richmond to provide new managers with the management skills and other tools necessary to manage centers successfully. A new Director of Training will be hired, along
with experienced bowling industry personnel from AMF's center operations, to lead this new training initiative.
-- Create an in-center training program and ongoing intranet-based training for managers and staff.
-- Increase the center managers' incentive compensation plan to allow managers to receive a higher bonus tied to the successful financial performance of their centers.
-- Expand the incentive compensation plan to include the Assistant Manager and Facility Manager for the first time. In addition, all full-time employees will become eligible for benefits, including participation in the company's health care and 401(K) programs.
-- Institute a required certification program for both managers and centers to assure higher quality facilities and improved customer service standards.
"We are going to expect more from our center managers and their teams," Smith said. "At the same time, we're going to invest in their training and reward good performance with an enhanced incentive bonus program."
To better develop a pride-of-ownership philosophy among center managers, the company will streamline the corporate and field support organizations. The U.S. center organization will consolidate from five to three operating regions, with Paul Barkley responsible for the West, Steve Crawley for the Central region and Lloyd Wrisley for the East (all three are currently Regional Vice Presidents). District Managers will focus more on personnel, training and the successful implementation of national programs. The positions of District Marketing Manager, Regional Organizational Development Manager and Regional Food & Beverage Manager have been eliminated.
Bowling Products Changes
"While we have made some progress towards improving our product quality and order fulfillment, we have not improved quickly enough to achieve our financial targets in Bowling Products in 2000," Smith said. "As a result, I believe a change in leadership is necessary to accelerate improvement."
Randy Daniel, former President of AMF Bowling Products, has left the company. AMF has started a search for a new Chief Operating Officer for Bowling Products. In the interim, Smith will assume responsibility for Bowling Products, with the following management changes to occur, effective immediately:
-- John Walker, Vice President, North American Sales, assumes responsibility for Global Sales and Customer Service.
-- Walter Powers, Manager, Factory Certified Equipment, assumes responsibility for Manufacturing and Engineering. Mark Kilpatrick, who heads Manufacturing, and Ron Brown, who directs Engineering, will continue their responsibilities and report to Powers.
-- Tim Scott, Senior Vice President, Marketing, assumes leadership of Product Management
In conjunction with these changes, corporate staff positions have been reduced to better meet the company's current business needs.
"I believe we're taking the right actions to make AMF a more efficient, focused and competitive company," Smith said. "While we will realize cost reductions, over half of these savings will be reinvested in the U.S. Bowling Centers business, where we continue to see opportunities for enhanced profitability and growth."
NYSE Suspends Trade In AMF Bowling Securities
11/16/2000 - By Steve Mermelstein
The New York Stock Exchange said Thursday that it suspended trading on AMF Bowling Inc.'s securities after they announced a financial restructuring and failed to meet the exchange's minimum stock price.
The suspending included trading of AMF's common stock, 10-7/8 percent notes due March 2006, and the 12-1/4 percent notes due March 2006. The NYSE will suspend securities if it believes that dealings in the security on the exchange are not advisable.