Positive rating from Moody’s for Atlanta Symphony

Posted on: November 19, 2014

“The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s recent labor agreement is credit positive because it enables the Woodruff Arts Center to reduce operating deficits, according to Moody’s Investors Service,” reports Shelly Sigo in The Bond Buyer (subscription required). “The symphony division is a driving factor in the center’s weak overall financial performance, analyst Dennis Gephardt said in a Nov. 14 comment. A new four-year collective bargaining agreement was reached Nov. 6. The Grammy-winning ASO had been locked out since Sept. 7, postponing nearly two dozen concerts and delaying the 70th anniversary season opener until Nov. 13. ‘Like many performing arts organizations, the ASO’s earned and contributed revenue has not kept pace with expense growth,’ said Gephardt. ‘The new contract provides near-term relief that will lower ASO expenses.’ The symphony is the largest operating division of the nonprofit Woodruff Center, which also includes an art museum, theater, and youth education divisions. ASO contributed $40 million, or approximately 40% of the center’s revenue, in fiscal 2014, while the symphony ran a $2.5 million deficit. Moody’s assigns an A2 rating with a negative outlook to the Woodruff Center’s $188 million of outstanding bonds.… ‘We expect the center’s operating performance to improve, however, the improvement will likely be gradual,’ said Gephardt.”

Posted November 19, 2014