SHAREHOLDERS STICK WITH BILLABONG FOUNDER

SHAREHOLDERS STICK WITH BILLABONG FOUNDER

GORDON Merchant (pictured) was today re-elected to ASX-listed Billabong International’s (BBG) Board.

The re-appointment of the company founder came despite some shareholder discontent over his refusal to accept earlier takeover offers from private equity bidders for the embattled surfwear manufacturer.

Bill Seymour, from the Australian Shareholders Association, urged BBG shareholders to vote against re-electing Merchant, who holds a majority 15 per cent interest in the company, and fellow non-executive director Colette Paull – another significant shareholder.

“A letter from the lawyers of Mr Merchant and Ms Paull advises that [they] do not support Billabong taking any steps to assist or facilitate a proposal by TPG Capital, including allowing TPG Capital to commence due diligence on Billabong, even if the price TPG Capital offered was $4 per share,” he says.

However, an overwhelming majority of shareholders voted in favour of retaining Merchant, Paull, Sally Pitkin and Paul Naude. Ted Kunkel also confirmed he would resign from the chairman role immediately and begin the handover process with incoming chairman Ian Pollard.

Merchant recently acquired 900,000 BBG shares for about $753,895 – a move that was widely perceived as a vote of confidence in new CEO Launa Inman’s four-year turnaround strategy announced in August.

Inman this year plans to close a further 50 retail stores, reduce about 30 per cent of styles that generate less than 1 per cent of sales and launch a global communications platform for BBG staff.

BBG's shareprice remained flat today at 84.7 cents per unit.

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