BILLABONG GETS ITS HANDS ON $316M

BILLABONG GETS ITS HANDS ON $316M

BILLABONG has all but purged itself of former suitor Altamont Capital Partners after paying off the $US294 million ($A309 million) bridging loan it secured from the consortium and purging two of its members from its board.

Billabong says it has banked $US300 million ($A316 million) from the first tranche of funding secured from new financiers Centerbridge Partners and Oaktree Capital Management, using the funds to immediately extinguish the Altamont loan.

The Gold Coast-based action-wear group also says it has offloaded Canadian retail chain West 49 for up to $A11.1 million, in a move the company says has trimmed its need for credit being forwarded by GE Capital.

Billabong has secured a $US360 million ($A378 million) lending facility from Centerbridge and Oaktree, while it also had planned to utilise a $US140 million ($A147 million) line of credit from GE Capital.

Billabong says the West 49 sale has trimmed its needs from GE Capital to $US100 million ($A105 million).

Under the new debt arrangement, Altamont representatives Jesse Rogers and Keoni Schwarz have retired from the Billabong board, replaced by Centerbridge postings Jason Mozingo and Matt Wilson.

Also departing from the board at this year’s annual general meeting will be Collette Paull, a long-time Billabong board member and close ally to company founder Gordon Merchant.

Paull joins Tony Froggatt, whose departure was previously announced, in the Billabong board exodus.

New Billabong CEO Neile Fiske will chair his first Billabong AGM on December 10, which is later than usual for Billabong due to the massive changes under way within the company.

Fiske says the sale of West 49 is part of a simplification of Billabong’s business in order to focus “on the core of what we do best”.

As part of the Canadian sale to YM Inc, Billabong has entered into a two-year supply agreement expected to be worth about $A34 million.

“The supply agreement we’ve entered into ensures our products will continue to have a strong presence for consumers in that market,” Fiske says.

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