* Sells DaKine brand, gets bridging loan from Altamont-led
* CEO Inman replaced by former Oakley exec Scott Olivet
* Altamont and others could end up with 40.5 pct under
* Billabong shares halted before announcement; down 75 pct
in a year
SYDNEY, July 16 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
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.