Reuters: Australia’s Billabong says Refinancing Within Reach as Losses Mount

(Reuters) – Australia’s Billabong International Ltd on Tuesday said it would conclude a refinancing deal within weeks as its annual net loss more than tripled and sales of its surf and streetware continued to decline in key markets including the United States.

The company is considering two refinancing offers, one led by U.S. private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners and another from U.S. hedge funds Oaktree Capital Management and Centerbridge Partners.

“We are within weeks of finalising our long-term funding arrangements,” chairman Ian Pollard said in a statement, without mentioning which party’s offer was the preferred option.

Billabong posted a net loss after tax of A$859.5 million ($777.80 million) for the year ended June 30, including significant items such as impairment charges on brands and goodwill. That compared with a net loss of A$275.6 million a year ago.

Adjusted net profit, excluding one-off items, fell to A$7.7 million, from A$33.5 million a year ago. That was below average analysts’ forecasts of A$10.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.

Sales continued to slide in the Americas, Billabong’s biggest market, following the closure of a number of underperforming stores, the company said. Store closures and weak consumer sentiment hit sales in Australia, while heavy discounting impacted revenue in Europe.

Struggling to pay off debts left over from an ill-timed expansion as its brands fell out of favour, Billabong has issued a series of profit warnings since rejecting a A$850 million bid from private equity firm TPG Capital Management in February 2012.

Billabong’s shares dropped 4.4 percent to A$0.54 by 0006 GMT, against a 0.2 percent slip in the broader market. It hit a record low of A$0.12 in June and traded above A$14 in 2007.