Reuters: Centerbridge, Oaktree Sweeten Billabong Refinancing Deal

(Reuters) – U.S. hedge funds Oaktree Capital Management and Centerbridge Partners sweetened their refinancing proposal for surfwear company Billabong International Ltd, upping the ante against a rival group led by Altamont Capital Partners.

Oaktree and Centerbridge have offered a raft of terms including a lower interest rate on the Australian surfwear company’s debt, which they say will give the company savings of as much as A$143 million ($129.02 million) over five years.

The new offer “provides the board with greater flexibility for addressing the company’s near- and longer-term capital and operational needs when compared to the revised Altamont … proposal,” the hedge funds said in a statement.

Billabong said it was considering the offer and that its board had met with the Centerbridge and Oaktree consortium. Billabong’s shares closed up 6.7 percent at A$0.59 a share.

The proposal from Oaktree and Centerbridge came after Billabong said on Wednesday it had revised the terms of a refinancing of its syndicated debt facilities with the Altamont consortium, after scrutiny from Australian corporate regulators.

Billabong previously knocked back a refinancing proposal from Oaktree and Centerbridge.

Plagued with high debt from an ill-timed expansion and struggling 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.