THE Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO) is in financial distress and has started business rescue proceedings, it confirmed on Thursday.

Business rescue allows companies in financial distress to be rehabilitated under supervision and subject to a court order.

"The board of the JPO took a formal resolution to start business rescue proceedings," MD Shadrack Bokaba said in a statement.

"The board and I are confident this financial situation will turn around within the next three to six months."

It appeared unlikely the orchestra would be able to pay its debts for the next six months, prompting the board resolution.

However, the JPO had a "reasonable" prospect of rescue.

Sikkie Kajee has been nominated as the JPO’s business rescue practitioner, although the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission has still to approve the appointment.

The business rescue practitioner must supervise the company during its rescue period.

The Department of Arts and Culture is expected to provide funding, based on its undertakings.

The JPO has applied to the National Lottery for a 2012 funding allocation.

"Based on the historical commitment by the fund, it is anticipated that these funds will be approved and allocated during the course of the year," it said.

Symphony concerts will continue this week and next week.