UPDATE 1-Australia's Billabong strikes $359 mln refinancing deal; CEO goes

Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:01am EDT

* Sells DaKine brand, gets bridging loan from Altamont-led consortium

* CEO Inman replaced by former Oakley exec Scott Olivet

* Altamont and others could end up with 40.5 pct under long-term refinancing

* Billabong shares halted before announcement; down 75 pct in a year

SYDNEY, July 16 (Reuters) - Australian surfwear company Billabong International Ltd will sell its DaKine clothing and accessories brand and jettison Chief Executive Launa Inman as part of a A$395 million ($359 million) refinancing deal with a former private-equity suitor.

Billabong said on Tuesday it was issuing Altamont Capital Partners share options for 15 percent of the company in exchange for a A$325 million bridging loan facility and was also selling the private equity firm its DaKine business for A$70 million.

Subject to shareholder approval, Altamont and its consortium partners could end up owning as much as 40.5 percent of Billabong if all the options and preference share issues are exercised as part of a longer-term refinancing agreed with Altamont and GE Capital.

"We had highlighted the company's debt issues previously and it was imperative to deliver a refinancing that retained an opportunity for shareholders to participate in the future of the company," Billabong Chairman Ian Pollard said in a statement. "The Altamont consortium presented the best available, certain and executable opportunity in these challenging circumstances."

One concern was the deal gives Altamont a very large hold on the company, through a combination of debt and equity, one retail analyst said.

"It's a risk that they end up putting it into receivership one day and taking the rest," said the analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Billabong said Inman, in the job for a little over a year, was being replaced by Scott Olivet, a former chairman and chief executive of Oakley Inc who has also worked for Nike Inc . Altamont will appoint two board members.

Billabong said proceeds would be used to repay its existing syndicated debt facilities in full. Hedge funds including Centerbridge Partners and Oaktree Capital Management had recently bought some of the debt from senior lenders, according to local media reports.

Billabong and its shareholders have had a turbulent time since rejecting a bid of A$3.50 a share, valuing the company at A$850 million, from rival private equity firm TPG Capital Management in February 2012.

Plagued with high debt from an ill-timed expansion and struggling as its brands fell out of favour, the company has sold assets, closed stores and embarked on a new strategy as a series of takeover proposals came and went.

Billabong began refinancing and asset sale talks with two former takeover suitors -- one led by its former U.S. boss Paul Naude and private equity firm Sycamore Partners, and the other by Altamont and U.S. clothing group VF Corp -- last month after both walked away from indicative offers at A$1.10 a share.

Billabong last month issued its third profit warning in six months, saying that weaker trading in Australia and higher-than-expected start-up losses in its Surfstitch Europe business meant earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) would be A$67 million to A$74 million.

That compared with an August forecast of earnings of A$100 million to A$110 million.

Billabong's shares sank to an all-time low of A$0.19 last month, from a high of A$13.56 six years ago. They last traded at A$0.25 on Tuesday before the company requested a trading update, having lost 75 percent of their value in the past year alone.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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