Billabong to Study Rival Refinancing Deal from U.S. Debt Funds

Billabong Spring 2013 Campaign | Source: Billabong

SYDNEY, Australia — Billabong International Ltd., the surfwear company that’s accepted a refinancing offer from a group led by Altamont Capital Partners, said it would study a competing proposal from two U.S. distressed-debt investors.

The company will take legal advice on what to do about the proposal from Oaktree Capital Group LLC and Centerbridge Capital Partners LLC, chairman Ian Pollard said at a media event in Sydney today, adding that he hadn’t seen the offer.

Centerbridge and Oaktree delivered an unconditional recapitalisation proposal to Billabong at 2:15 p.m. Sydney time today, according to an e-mailed statement from external spokewoman Marsha Jacobs. The proposal will deliver them 61 percent of Billabong shares in return for canceling debt, while saving the surfwear maker a net $150 million in interest payments over five years, according to the statement.

“I will have a look at what they put forward,” Pollard said. “Obviously we as directors will be mindful of what our responsibilities are to shareholders.”

The funds’ proposal is “superior” to that presented by the Altamont group and can be executed any time up to Oct. 31, according to the e-mailed statement from Jacobs.

The deal would provide “immediate liquidity” and includes the issue of a six-year, A$100 million loan at an interest rate of 8 percent to repay principal outstanding under the existing syndicated loan agreement, the funds said. It would save Billabong from having to sell its DaKine brand, which the Altamont group has proposed to buy for A$70 million.

Scott Olivet, who Altamont has proposed as the new chief executive officer, would remain in that post under the proposal, which would give the funds the majority of seats on Billabong’s board, according to the statement.

By: David Fickling, with assistance from Brett Foley; Editors: Stephanie Wong, Edward Johnson